New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso on Wednesday accused Major League Baseball of altering the physical properties of the ball in order to lower free agent salaries. Alonso, who was asked his thoughts on MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances, dismissed that aspect as a non-factor for him before making his claim.
“The biggest concern is that the MLB is handling baseballs year after year based on the free agency class,” Alonso told reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday. Alonso added, “Oh, no, it’s a fact. Yeah, the guys brought it up. It’s no coincidence. It’s definitely something they’ve done.”
Alonso pointed to a pair of recent developments as proof of his claim: the juice of the ball during the 2019 season, after which seven of the top 10 free agents were pitchers, and the subsequent cushioning of the ball this year, before a batter. . – heavy free agent class. While the MLB set an impossible number of home run records in 2019, the league as a whole is on track in 2021 for its lowest batting average and highest batting strikeout rate. history.
Whether or not there is merit in Alonso’s conspiracy theory – and it is reasonable to doubt that MLB is an organization competent enough from top to bottom to perform such maneuvers – his willingness to make it known and suggesting that other players have the same conviction, underlines the mistrust that exists within clubs towards commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners.
This is a notable development given that the collective agreement expires in December and the stage appears set for the MLB’s first work stoppage since the mid-1990s, when a strike shattered the 1994 World Series and no. ‘ended only after the owners brought in replacement players to begin. spring training.
By the way, Alonso has had little problem hitting the ball this season no matter what opposing pitchers are handling. Entering Tuesday, he was hitting .255 / .343 / .471 (127 OPS +) with nine home runs in 181 plate appearances.