As Major League Baseball attempts to crack down on the polarizing issue of pitchers using a variety of sticky substances, New York Mets star Pete Alonso believes there’s a more important issue that isn’t being talked about.
“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, per ESPN.
“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 remarked. “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.”
Alonso raised this concern after New York Yankees star pitcher Gerrit Cole fumbled his way through an explanation last night about his possible use of Spider Tack, arguably the most sticky substance available.
The issue with pitchers using these substances is that while it allows them to have a better grip on the ball, it also increases spin rate on a pitcher’s fastball and breaking ball, thereby making them harder to hit, and creating softer contact when the bat actually hits the ball. This year, the league batting average is .237, which is tied for the lowest of all-time, while strikeouts are the currently the highest they have ever been.
Alonso said he doesn’t have a problem with pitchers using substances, pointing out that the bag of rosin sitting on the mound essentially serves the same purpose. The 2019 National League Rookie of the Year thinks that if these pitchers are allowed to have a better grip on the ball, it’s better for him when he’s standing in the box. “Because for me, I go in the box every single day and I see guys throwing harder and harder every day. I don’t want 99 slipping out of someone’s hand because they didn’t have enough feel for it,” he said.
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