Buck Showalter Says Mets Contacted MLB About Baseball Grip Issues: 'It's a Concern'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter pauses in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday that the Mets organization has been in contact with the MLB league office regarding perceived issues with pitchers gripping the baseball.

Showalter said that both he and general manager Billy Eppler had spoken with the league about the topic:


Buck Showalter says the Mets have been in contact with the league office today about the baseballs:<br><br>"It's a concern. We're very lucky that we haven't had some real serious injury." <a href="https://t.co/uiqKknRwip">pic.twitter.com/uiqKknRwip</a>

The Mets lead Major League Baseball in hit batsmen this season with 18 in 19 games. Three Mets hitters were hit by a pitch during Tuesday's 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, including first baseman Pete Alonso, who was hit in the head for the second time this season.

Alonso got up immediately, stayed in the game and avoided injury despite the scary incident.

Chris Bassitt, who was the Mets' winning pitcher on Tuesday, discussed the grip issue as well:


"I had some close calls tonight. I've been hit in the face, I don't ever want to do that to anybody ever. MLB has a very big problem with the baseballs. They're bad. Everyone knows it. They don't care. MLB doesn't give a damn about it."<br><br>- Chris Bassitt <a href="https://t.co/KMc0bAhYPx">pic.twitter.com/KMc0bAhYPx</a>

Bassitt hit one batter himself in Tuesday's game and admitted to having some close calls where he almost hit batters in dangerous spots because of struggles to grip the ball properly.

The Mets righty also claimed that Major League Baseball doesn't care about the grip problems or the fact that pitchers have voiced concern about it.

Grip has long been a hot-button issue over the course of baseball history, with pitchers using illegal substances at certain points in order to have more control over the ball.

MLB had to toe a fine line, however, since substances meant to enhance grip can sometimes change the spin of the baseball, too.

In an effort to crack down on illegal activity, MLB enhanced its efforts to prevent pitchers from using sticky substances on the ball last season by checking pitchers periodically throughout the game.

Spider Tack was a well-known substance used by some pitchers to better grip the baseball, but it is no longer permitted to be used. That has left pitchers with only rosin, which doesn't always do the trick.

The Mets are off to a great start this season with an MLB-best 14-5 record, but it is clear that there is an organizational desire for the league to address a growing problem with the baseballs.