ST. LOUIS. Chris Bassit is tired of Major League Baseball’s apparent indifference to the serious and hurtful problem plaguing the sport.
After three Mets hit the field 3-0 victory over the Cardinals On Tuesday night, Bassitt called on MLB to fail on multiple levels to address the dangerous problem that pitchers can’t handle baseballs well.
“MLB has a very big problem with baseballs,” Bassitt said. “They are bad. Everyone knows this. Every pitcher in the league knows this. MLB doesn’t care. They do not care. We told them about our problems with them. They do not care”.
Bassitt said the balls are “every different” from inning to inning.
“First half they’re decent,” he said. “Third inning, they’re bad. They’re fine in the fourth inning. They have a bad fifth inning. Then we have a different climate. Everything is different. Balls have nothing to do with it. Nothing is the same, walk after walk. They are bad”.
Bassitt knows firsthand what it’s like to have your face drilled after being hit by a 100-mph comebacker last August, resulting in a fractured face. The pitcher said he understands how scary it is to be coached, and he would never want to punch a batter in the face because he couldn’t get a good grip on the ball.
He said pitchers across the league offered “a million things” to MLB, and players made sure their offers wouldn’t hurt offensive production. The Mets pitcher said MLB “wants nothing from the ball” on offense and there are ways to get it done, but the league doesn’t want to do it. According to Bassit, one of the recommendations the pitchers made to MLB was for a generic, legalized substance that they could all use on balls.
“Everyone is preaching it, I don’t know for how long,” he said. “It’s too easy to fix, seeing guys get hit over the head over and over again and doing nothing about it. How long are we going to let this happen?”
The Mets have hit the field 18 times in 19 games this season, leading the Majors. Pete Alonso was hit twice on his helmet and Francisco Lindor was also drilled through the head this year, resulting in a cracked tooth.
Last season, MLB banned pitchers from using “foreign substances” on the ball to slow their spin. The higher spin rate resulted in a higher speed resulting in a lower number of attacks and a lower average number of hits. But without any sticky substance, this seems to have resulted in more issue grabbing issues.
Mets catcher James McCann begged MLB to sit down and talk to players who are in these dangerous game situations to find a solution that works for all parties. McCann agreed that illegal substances such as Spider Tack or others designed to increase spin speed should be kept out of the game.
“Sit down with the players and talk about it,” McCann said. “Sit down with the players and see what they want. Do not accept the opinions of people who are not on the hill, who are not trying to leave him. Don’t talk to someone who isn’t trying to stand in the box when the guy is throwing the ball at 100 mph and doesn’t feel the ball. That’s the answer: talk to the players and see what the best result is.”
McCann suggested putting down a pine-tar rag—similar to the kind batters use to better hold their bats—and sunscreen, in addition to the bag of rosin that was already on the mound. McCann believes that, like last year when MLB decided to ban all goo for the season, a solution that allows pitchers to better hold the ball could be implemented within a year. The sooner, the better.
Manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday night he was “not happy” after three more Mets were hit by pitches. Starling Marte added that “intentionally or not, this has to stop.”
“We want to talk about juicy balls, dead balls, slick balls, sticky balls,” McCann said. “I mean, it’s 2022 now. We must have an answer.”