BALTIMORE – New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso has accused Major League Baseball of tampering with baseballs to damage the earning potential of star free agents and players eligible for arbitration.
Alonso’s comments came on Wednesday before New York’s game in Baltimore. I was answering a question about the crackdown on sticky substances used by pitchers.
“I think the biggest concern is that Major League Baseball manipulates baseballs year after year depending on the kind of free agency, or the guys who are in an advanced part of their umpiring,” Alonso said. “So I think it’s a big problem: the ball is different every year. … Maybe if the league didn’t change baseball, pitchers wouldn’t need to use as much sticky stuff. “
When asked a follow-up question on this, Alonso stood his ground. His implication was that balls are friendlier to hitters in a year when several of the best pitchers are about to hit free agency, and vice versa.
“That is a fact,” he said. “The guys have talked about it, but I mean, in 2019, there was a great class of free-agent pitchers, and then, in quotes, juicy balls. Then 2020 was a weird year with the COVID season, but now that we’re back to playing like a regular season with a bunch of shortstops or position players who will be paid a lot of money, high caliber players, I mean, yes, it is not a coincidence. “
The League did not rule on Alonso’s position.
MLB informed teams in February that it planned to slightly cushion baseballs for the 2021 season after an increase in home runs of years. In 2019, 3.6% of plate appearances ended with a home run, a number that has fallen to 3.1% this year.
Alonso hit 53 home runs as a rookie that 2019 season and 16 in 57 games last year. He homered in the first inning on Wednesday, his 10th of the season.
After the 2019 season, Gerrit Cole landed a nine-year, $ 324 million deal with the New York Yankees, which remains a record deal for a pitcher in terms of its total value.
In regards to the original question, Alonso didn’t seem overly concerned about what opposing pitchers might be putting on the ball.
“Whatever they want to use to help control the ball, let them use it, because for me, I go to the box every day and I see the guys throwing harder and harder every day, and I don’t want 99 to get out of hand. someone’s hand, ”Alonso said.
Alonso said hitters have many options to help with their grip.
“In our cover bag, we have a pine tar rag, a pine tar stick, like a special sticky spray, rosin, I mean, whatever, we have it,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind if they had that behind the mound to help hold the ball.”