The topic of pitchers using illegal substances to enhance their grip on the baseball to gain a competitive advantage was all the rage on Wednesday, but an unlikely source is telling pitchers to keep on doing what they’re doing — with a curveball.
New York Mets all-star first baseman Pete Alonso spoke with reporters ahead of New York’s Wednesday night game against the Baltimore Orioles and said he doesn’t have a problem with pitchers using whatever they have to in order to get a better grip on the baseball.
“Since the start of the game, pitchers have been using ‘substances’ — I mean, there’s a bag of rosin behind the mound right now to help guys dry their hands and get grip,” Alonso said. “For me, I think whether they’re using pine tar, rosin, Bullfrog, sunscreen and rosin, whatever they want to use to help control the ball, let them use it. 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.”
Alonso’s comments come just one day after New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was unable to answer a question on his use of “spider tack” — a sticky substance that has allegedly become a favorite of pitchers around Major League Baseball.
“I don’t [long pause] … I don’t know … I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest,” Cole stammered when asked if he has ever used the illegal substance. “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.”
The stuttering answer came after Minnesota Twins’ third baseman Josh Donaldson called out Cole by name for his recent dip in spin rate, just days after it was announced that four minor league players had been suspended for using an illegal foreign substance.
But Alonso isn’t concerned with pitchers gaining an advantage, he has more of an issue with what he sees as Major League Baseball manipulating the baseballs from year to year.
“I think the biggest concern is Major League Baseball 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. “So I do think that’s the big issue, the ball being different every single year. In other sports the ball is the same, like basketball, football, tennis, golf, the ball is the same.
“I think that is the real issue with the changing of the baseballs, and maybe if the league didn’t change the baseballs pitchers wouldn’t need to use as much sticky stuff, because for guys who field the ball and throw the ball every day and for every single year for it to change, it’s not fair to the people who are using it every single day and throwing it.”
It’s a heck of an accusation from Alonso, and one that should get the attention of the league. With baseball seeing an offensive explosion over the past several seasons, MLB decided to “deaden” the ball for the 2021 season. It’s seemed to have an impact this year, with baseball seeing six no-hitters so far this season — and a league-wide batting average of .236 through May 31.
Alonso may not have a problem with pitchers using whatever it takes to get a better grip on the baseball, but the league certainly does, and you can expect to see a crackdown as the season progresses.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
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