Mets' Alonso accuses MLB of manipulating balls to impact free agency


New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is in favor of pitchers doctoring baseballs with whatever substance they want and thinks the real story is how Major League Baseball changes the ball from year to year depending on who's set to enter free agency.

"The biggest concern is that Major League Baseball manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free-agency class or guys being in an advanced part of their arbitration," Alonso said Wednesday. "So I do think that's a big issue - the ball being different every single year.

Alonso remained adamant when asked to elaborate on how the league has tweaked the ball to coincide with free agency.

"That's a fact," Alonso said, per SNY.

He continued, "In 2019, there was a huge class of free-agent pitchers, and then that's (when) the quote, unquote, 'juiced balls' (happened). ... Now that we're back to playing in a regular season with a ton of shortstops or position players that are going to be owed, paid a lot of money like high-caliber players, it's not a coincidence."

Alonso added that ball manipulation is a problem unique to baseball.

"With other sports, the ball's the same, like basketball, football, tennis, golf, the ball's the same. ... Maybe if the league didn't change the baseball, pitchers wouldn't need to use as much sticky stuff," he said, per DiComo.

MLB plans to crack down on pitchers who doctor balls during their starts, and hurlers like New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole are facing greater scrutiny for their potential involvement.

Alonso agrees with Cole insofar as ball-doctoring is traditionally a practice that has been quietly accepted over the years, and he thinks pitchers having better grip when throwing is a positive.

"Since the start of the game, pitchers have been using substances," the slugger said. "I mean, there's a bag of rosin behind the mound right now to help guys dry their hands and get grip. For me, I think whether they're using pine tar, rosin, Bullfrog, or sunscreen and rosin, or whatever they want to use to help control the ball, let them use it.

He added, "I go in the box every single day and I see guys throwing harder and harder every day. And I don't want 99 slipping out of someone's hand because they didn't have enough feel for it."

While grip is one benefit from using the various sticky substances available - approved or otherwise - another has been drastic improvements to spin rate, which is seen as giving pitchers a competitive advantage.

MLB has yet to officially announce a plan to address ball-doctoring or what sanctions will be involved for pitchers found to be in violation of the rules.

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