(CBSNewYork)- The big discussion in Major League Baseball the last few weeks has centered around pitchers using foreign substances on baseballs to increase spin rate and movement on pitches thereby flummoxing hitters and keeping offense at historically low levels. That discussion led to MLB directing umpires to more strictly enforce the rules on foreign substances on the ball. However, for Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, the sticky substances aren’t to blame. He blames the league’s “manipulation” of the ball.
“The biggest concern is MLB manipulates the baseball year in and year out depending on free-agency class, or guys being in an advanced part of their arbitration,” Alonso said during a videoconference with reporters.READ MORE: Federal Arrest Warrant Issued For Gabby Petito's Missing Fiancé Brian Laundrie
When a reporter followed up on that answer asking if that’s something players are talking about or believe to be the case, Alonso said, “Oh no, that’s a fact.”
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Pete Alonso saying “It’s a fact!” that @mlb changes the baseballs based on upcoming FA classes in an attempt to manipulate salaries, is a fun sign of where @mlbpa is in relation to the upcoming CBA negotiations. That gets me FIRED UP! Let ‘em know Pete! pic.twitter.com/Oz0eFuIrHD
— Anthony Recker (@Anthony_Recker) June 9, 2021
The first baseman then further elaborated on what he meant.
“In 2019, there was a huge class of free-agent pitchers and then that’s quote-unquote ‘the juiced balls,’ and then 2020 was a strange year with the COVID season,” Alonso said. “But now that we’re back to playing in a regular season with a ton of shortstops or position players that are going to be paid a lot of money like high-caliber players — I mean, yeah, that’s not a coincidence. It’s definitely something that they do.”
Changes to the baseball have been a major discussion point over the last few seasons since MLB bought their supplier, Rawlings, back in 2018. While the league has told teams it made some tweaks to the ball ahead of this season to attempt to curb what had been a several year string of surging home runs, Alonso’s theory hasn’t been definitively proven.
The first baseman did also offer his opinion on the league cracking down on pitcher’s using foreign substances on the ball. He told reporters that he doesn’t believe that is the right move by the league because he’d rather the pitchers be able to grip and control where the ball is going.
“For me, whether they are using pine tar, rosin, sunscreen or bullfrog or whatever they want to use to control the ball, let them use it because for me I go into the box and see guys throwing harder every day,” Alonso said. “And I don’t want 99 mph slipping out of someone’s hand because they didn’t have enough feel for it.”MORE NEWS: 1 Killed, 13 Injured In Shooting At Kroger In Collierville, Tennessee
Alonso saw teammate Kevin Pillar get hit in the face by a ball earlier this year and doesn’t want to see that same thing happen to any other hitters.