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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

New York Mets’ Pete Alonso posits that MLB ‘manipulates the baseball’ based on free-agent class

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said Wednesday that he disagrees with MLB’s crackdown on pitcher-friendly foreign substances, and that the larger issue facing the sport is the league’s manipulation of baseballs depending on free-agent class—a theory he presented as “fact.”

“The biggest concern is MLB 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 during a videoconference with reporters.

Asked in a follow-up question if the idea of MLB manipulating baseballs based on free-agent class is something players “talk about and believe in,” Alonso replied, “Oh no, that’s a fact.”

He continued: “In 2019, there was a huge class of free-agent pitchers and then that’s quote-unquote ‘the juiced balls,’ and then 2020 was a strange year with the COVID season. But now that we’re back to playing in a regular season with a ton of shortstops or position players that are going to be paid a lot of money like high-caliber players—I mean, yeah, that’s not a coincidence. It’s definitely something that they do.”,

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 11:33 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: juiced ball, pete alonso

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: June 10, 2021 at 12:00 AM (#6023515)
I can't really explain Alonso, other than he comes across as a fun, friendly, big goofball who means what he says - but he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 10, 2021 at 12:32 AM (#6023516)
shortstops or position players that are going to be paid a lot of money like high-caliber players


What does this even mean? If you are a good SS(say Correa) shouldn't you get paid well? I mean this guy can hit quite well whilst playing the hardest position on the diamond outside of catcher. Surely an oaf who plays 1B can see there's some talent required to play SS, CF, 3B or 2B.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 10, 2021 at 12:39 AM (#6023517)
Even after I RTFA (apologies to all), I don’t get Alonso’s theory. MLB juices the balls to make everyone look good, thereby flooding the market with good hitters and somehow depressing the value of the prime free agents, even though they also benefit from the juiced balls? Seems like introducing ‘less juiced’ balls would make everyone look worse, possibly driving down position player salaries a bit, although that might cause pitchers to be paid more. Or is Alonso contending that MLB varies the ball depending on who is at bat? That would seem to require the umpires to be in on it, which seems like too large a conspiracy to be kept secret. Perhaps an investigation by one or more Congressional Committees will clarify things?
   4. The Duke Posted: June 10, 2021 at 12:41 AM (#6023518)
Everyone who played in high school had a big dumb kid on their team who could hit the hell out of the ball but couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. Pete Alonso was that kid on his team.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: June 10, 2021 at 01:03 AM (#6023520)
I take it as Alonso believing, "wow, the best free agents this year will be starting pitchers, so if we let them have good stats, owners will pay them a lot of money. so if we juice the baseballs, then they won't get paid so much, due to more modest stats.

"and this year, lots of good young SS - so same issue, but now we have to deaden the ball so THEY have more modest stats, again saving MLB ownership a ton of money."

and 4 is about right.

the Mets' main Twitter hashtag is #LGM for "Let's Go Mets," their forever fan chant.

some cheeky young fans in the last year or two amped it up to #LGFM - and the F wasn't for "fairly" or even "friggin."

Alonso adopted the latter version, and got some heat from "get off my lawn" columnists that I considered unfair. he's basically a frat boy himself, and didn't know any better. no big deal. in a decade, he might well have a wife and three young kids and, while not friggin' out about it, might prefer the tamer version as a better example to his kids.

but #afaifk, no one was able to get this point across to the big lummox.

he seems like a nice enough fellow that if you could explain that a portion of his fan base might wince at the 'edgier' version, he would be amenable to the tamer one (not that he would know what 'amenable' means).

Alonso earlier this season had a mild rant (I have never seen him get truly angry) against analytics of almost any sort. "grab bat. see pitch. hit ball far." is about his total approach.

the last 2 years, when any Met gets a game-winning hit, Alonso joyously - and literally - tears the uniform jersey off the 'lucky player' while they are gathered on the infield.

I guess these observations could be seen as presented by the defense, or the prosecution
:)

but this is who he is

   6. shoelesjoe Posted: June 10, 2021 at 02:45 AM (#6023527)
I don’t understand why you guys are mocking Alonso. Not saying I believe him, but stranger things have happened. Is it your position that in order to possibly save tens of millions of dollars the owners wouldn’t have the baseball slightly modified, depending on which players are about to hit free agency? Or that they couldn’t have the baseball slightly modified for such a purpose?
   7. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2021 at 05:56 AM (#6023530)
Or that they couldn’t have the baseball slightly modified for such a purpose?

Yes, that is indeed my position.
   8. The Duke Posted: June 10, 2021 at 08:56 AM (#6023541)
That is my position as well
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: June 10, 2021 at 09:15 AM (#6023545)
The thing is, that there is probably a conspiracy theory about pretty much everything that ever happens somewhere out there, sometimes it finds a person who happens to be able to be in front of a microphone. The logic of the theory that Alonso is stating makes sense from one viewpoint, which means it's going to gain traction somewhere, of course it doesn't really follow logic when you work your way through it, but still it has a superficial logic, which is pretty much how you create conspiracy theories(see voter fraud, 9/11, moon landing etc...)

Ultimately though if you look at it backwards, it boils down to the ball players thinking the owners are looking for ways to not pay free agents top dollar. There is then created a theory that the owners will do something that hurts the top free agents or an entire class of free agents, so this theory starts in the dugout with someone probably making a joke about it, and then it gains traction, because there is a real fear (which is justified) among the players that the owners are actively trying to suppress salaries and especially the top salaries. It doesn't make Alonso a meathead to believe this theory (well it doesn't help his standing on the intelligence community either) it just means that he's expressing a very real fear that the players have, that the owners are trying to suppress salaries.
   10. KronicFatigue Posted: June 10, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6023547)
some cheeky young fans in the last year or two amped it up to #LGFM - and the F wasn't for "fairly" or even "friggin."


Excellent summary (my wife's a Mets fan, so I guess that makes me a Mets fan), but this line is actually LFGM. Although, Let's Go...[sigh]..F'n Mets" is infinitely funnier
   11. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6023548)
It doesn't make Alonso a meathead to believe this theory


Yes, it does. It's a conspiracy theory. Carl Everett was just as much of a meathead when he said dinosaurs didn't exist. People need to stop bending over backwards to at-least-sorta-maybe-I can see where he's coming from. Alonso (and any other conspiracy believer) should be told 'no, you're wrong, that's incorrect', the same way you'd tell a 2 year old, 'no, we don't hit'.
   12. KronicFatigue Posted: June 10, 2021 at 09:39 AM (#6023549)
What makes something a conspiracy theory? Is it simply "nobody else thinks this"? The difficulty in the conspiracy being pulled off?

I don't think Alonso's correct, because it seems like a lot of effort for marginal returns (free agent classes are rarely so lopsided in pitchers vs hitters to be worth it). But, I mean, it's pretty much a fact that NBA refs were involved in a huge gambling scheme and one of the biggest culprits still refs games. And the NBA squashed the investigation. Is that a conspiracy theory b/c the default "sports are fair" is widely accepted?
   13. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 10, 2021 at 09:58 AM (#6023552)
My personal conspiracy theory is that MLB doctored the balls to encourage chicks to dig the long ball; years later, when they needed to prove the steroid policy was working, they de-doctored the balls to yield less home runs.

It’s my meathead moment; allow me to enjoy it!
   14. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:14 AM (#6023554)
But, I mean, it's pretty much a fact that NBA refs were involved in a huge gambling scheme and one of the biggest culprits still refs games


Is this referencing something more than Tim Donaghy? Who is the still-active ref that was involved?
   15. Tin Angel Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6023555)
Some of you BBFTF members need to wake up and stop being sheeple for MLFB.
   16. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:27 AM (#6023556)
What makes something a conspiracy theory?

(Pet Peeve: I've taken to calling them "conspiracy fantasies" since in the world of science a theory has a basis in actual facts.)

The biggest red flag to me is that the purveyors of this BS couch all of their claims in terms of how they "raise questions" or are "curious" or "intriguing" or "mysterious" or "suspicious" or they ask "But why?" yet they rarely connect the dots and lay out what their hypothesis actually is. Or if they do, carrying out the conspiracy would require so much silence from so many low-level people involved as to be, well, unbelievable. Keeping secrets is hard. Keeping really salacious or scandalous secrets about rich, famous, and powerful people for an indeterminate length of time is that much harder.

I mean, it's pretty much a fact that NBA refs were involved in a huge gambling scheme and one of the biggest culprits still refs games.

"Refs" as in plural? I don't follow the NBA all that closely, but the only one I'm aware of is Tim Donaghy and he was promptly fired and -- to my knowledge at least -- hasn't reffed again.
   17. Lassus Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6023558)
What makes something a conspiracy theory? Is it simply "nobody else thinks this"? The difficulty in the conspiracy being pulled off?

Number of people required to execute the action, and then all stay silent about said action.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:45 AM (#6023561)
In my mind, there is a difference between a conspiracy and a cover up (which of course has conspiracy as part of it though) to me a conspiracy theory is a planned action that is designed to lie from the get go, carried out by a group, while a cover up is a group deciding something that happened inadvertently or unplanned or criminally by a smaller group is hidden. (so the Moon landing being faked would be a conspiracy theory, while refs betting on basketball would be a cover up---mind you the cover up would be a conspiracy theory after the fact, but that type of action isn't as unbelievable as thinking that Antifa planned to storm the capital while pretending to be maga)

   19. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:51 AM (#6023563)
#16 well, if you can say anything for Alonso here, he's not doing any of that. He's got a fully baked theory and it's a "fact". (Every time I read that quote I hear it in the voice of Will Ferrell's character from Talladega Nights. "That's a fact, you can look it up" or something like that.)

One problem with Alonso's theory is that the owners don't actually behave as though they are acting according to a plan. They juiced the balls in 2019 and then Milwaukee signed Yelich to a $185 million contract extension based on his numbers from that year, even though it wasn't his walk year? Lindor and Tatis both get signed to massive contracts right before MLB is about to have a season with a deadened ball?

And obviously, most teams are looking at context-adjusted numbers anyway these days. A higher or lower run-scoring environment shouldn't really affect free agent offers for one class of players.
   20. KronicFatigue Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:51 AM (#6023564)
I can't find the best article I've ever read on the topic, but here's one that connects Scott Foster to Tim Donaghy. In the article I read, I believe the FBI looped the NBA into what they were investigating and the NBA somehow tanked the investigation by announcing/leaking something. I'll keep looking.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielmarcus/2020/09/09/whistleblower-podcast-suggests-nba-betting-scandal-was-much-more-widespread-than-originally-reported/

And I semi/mostly believe #13 too.

I believe there's a lot of "fixing" going on in soccer. Maybe not to the affect that Team A will definitely beat Team B, but putting the thumb on the scales just enough that the betters will win more than they lose.

I believe the NBA, as a business, prefer certain teams going further in the playoffs than other teams. And prefer series to go longer than ending sooner. And while I don't think they tell refs "The NEW YORK Knicks win tonight", I think there's an unsaid understanding and good "company men" refs get better gigs.

   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6023566)

It is interesting, though, to see Alonso alleging that MLB juiced the balls in his big rookie year. I hope that doesn't come back to bite him when he's negotiating *his* extension.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: June 10, 2021 at 11:00 AM (#6023568)
I think the NBA is corrupt, I make jokes that for every all star appearance you have, you are allowed an extra step before travelling is called. But that is more about the culture of what is accepted, same with pitchers using pine tar etc.

As far as mlb and the live ball era, I kinda tow the party line, in that they had a range of tolerance for how tight the ball was stitched, and for those years they had a tendency to only accept balls on the livelier side of tightness, but still within their defined regulations, and then when they moved the plants making the balls, the machines were set up to more consistently hit the higher level of tolerance.

At the same time there was a conspiracy that in 2018 or so that the balls were either tighter still or that the threads were altered to be smaller (the latter seems more likely to be honest, and potentially just an honest manufacturing error in choice to choose a different product)
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: June 10, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6023586)
Some of you BBFTF members need to wake up and stop being sheeple for MLFB.

I won't make this mistake again - it's MFLB

:)

it is widely believed, even among some non-crazy people, that NBA refs know that they can get in good with the league office by helping a series at 3-2 in games go to a 7th game. and yes Foster and Donaghy were pretty close. quite a few NBA refs are from the Philly area, where Donaghy is from.
   24. GregD Posted: June 10, 2021 at 01:35 PM (#6023592)
can't find the best article I've ever read on the topic, but here's one that connects Scott Foster to Tim Donaghy. In the article I read, I believe the FBI looped the NBA into what they were investigating and the NBA somehow tanked the investigation by announcing/leaking something. I'll keep looking.
this idea was featured on the podcast about Donaghy
   25. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: June 10, 2021 at 01:43 PM (#6023595)
It is interesting, though, to see Alonso alleging that MLB juiced the balls in his big rookie year. I hope that doesn't come back to bite him when he's negotiating *his* extension.
"That last election was rigged and illegitimate."
"So you yourself weren't really elected?"
"Look, a squirrel!"
   26. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 10, 2021 at 01:52 PM (#6023598)
Pet Peeve: I've taken to calling them "conspiracy fantasies" since in the world of science a theory has a basis in actual facts.


Could be a conspiracy conjecture or conspiracy hypothesis. Conspiracies do happen. While there are plenty of conspiracy theories about 9/11 that have no basis in fact, 9/11 was still a conspiracy. The top definition for conspiracy on a simple web search is "a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful" which and the plan to hijack of planes and crash them into the twin towers and pentagon by al-Qaeda which was kept secret from the public until the day of execution certainly qualifies.

Just because somebody makes a hypothesis about a conspiracy doesn't mean they aren't doing so with some basis in fact. For instance, it was hypothesized leading up to the 2016 election that Julian Assange was conspiring with Russian hackers and members of the Trump campaign to release illegally hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. People who suggested this hypothesis in 2016 were dismissed as conspiracy theorists, which they were since they were hypothesizing about a conspiracy, but there was evidence to support the belief and they were ultimately proven correct.
   27. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 10, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6023600)
Excellent summary (my wife's a Mets fan, so I guess that makes me a Mets fan), but this line is actually LFGM.

I caught the end of a Mets game the other day, and Pete Alonso was the postgame interview. He signed off by saying "LFGM," the same way Russell Wilson always says "Let's go Hawks" at the end of every interview.
   28. Dr. Pooks Posted: June 10, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#6023624)
the last 2 years, when any Met gets a game-winning hit, Alonso joyously - and literally - tears the uniform jersey off the 'lucky player' while they are gathered on the infield.


Maybe Alonso is working as a double agent for the Commissioner's Office secretly ensuring that none of the Mets walkoff heroes are guilty of committing a "Jose Altuve".

Or to check if anyone has any new embarrassing tattoos....
   29. dejarouehg Posted: June 10, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6023627)
I really like Alonso. He seems to be a really good guy.

A buddy who runs many of the big card shows in the NY metro area told me how friendly PA was with the fans; was genuinely appreciative that they would want to see him and get his autograph. And, when his handler tried to get him to leave because his time was up, PA refused because there were plenty of folks still remaining and he didn't want to disappoint them.

Still, Pete is not competing for any Mensa titles, though he does seemed to have completely memorized the MLBPA's "We Hate The Owners and Here's Why" playbook.

For the player's sake (and I tend to take management's side in this particular dispute,) they should really hope that Tony Clark and Pete Alonso are not that important in the upcoming battle. Certainly far from the intellectual powerhouses that were Miller, Fehr, Orza and Weiner.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 10, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6023633)

the last 2 years, when any Met gets a game-winning hit, Alonso joyously - and literally - tears the uniform jersey off the 'lucky player' while they are gathered on the infield.


I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy Alonso's whole attitude. But every time he does this I am afraid of a Zach Plesac-type injury (Plesac broke his thumb tearing off his jersey too aggressively).

   31. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 11, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6023770)
I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy Alonso's whole attitude. But every time he does this I am afraid of a Zach Plesac-type injury (Plesac broke his thumb tearing off his jersey too aggressively).


This was something you were worried about prior to Plesac's injury? Or since? Because I never really thought someone would injure themselves all that severely ripping a jersey off prior to Plesac doing it.
   32. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 11, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6023775)

This was something you were worried about prior to Plesac's injury? Or since? Because I never really thought someone would injure themselves all that severely ripping a jersey off prior to Plesac doing it.


This is the Mets we're talking about, so yes...
   33. The Honorable Ardo Posted: June 11, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6023778)
Alonso's theory is amusing, but it demands much more master planning from the Commissioner's office than it is capable of devising or implementing. Manfred isn't the sharpest tool in the shed either.
   34. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 13, 2021 at 12:32 AM (#6023968)
Economically illiterate first baseman

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