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Mets' Alonso Accuses MLB of Manipulating Baseballs

Tabatha Wethal

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso on Wednesday accused Major League Baseball of tweaking baseballs to harm the earning potential for star free agents and players eligible for arbitration, according to an Associated Press report.

Prior to New York’s game at Baltimore on Wednesday, Alonso made the comments while responding to a question about the crackdown on sticky substances used by pitchers.

“I think that 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. “So I do think that’s a big issue — the ball being different every single year. ... Maybe if the league didn’t change the baseball, pitchers wouldn’t need to use as much sticky stuff.”

Alonso also implied that the balls are friendlier to hitters in a year when a number of top pitchers are about to hit free agency — and vice versa.

“That’s a fact,” he said. “Guys have talked about it, but I mean, in 2019, there was a huge class of free agent pitchers, and then that’s, quote-unquote, the juiced balls. Then 2020, it was a strange year with the COVID season, but now that we’re back to playing like a regular season with a ton of shortstops or position players that are going to be paid a lot of money, high-caliber players, I mean yeah, it’s not a coincidence.”

The league did not comment on Alonso’s charge.

MLB informed teams in February that it planned to slightly deaden the baseballs for the 2021 season following a years-long surge in home runs, the AP reported. In 2019, 3.6% of plate appearances ended in a homer, a number that has dropped to 3.1% this year.

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