Chris Bassitt had just come off spinning another gem on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he threw six innings of scoreless baseball while allowing just two hits while striking out six. It was good enough to lower his season ERA to 2.25 and improve his record to 3-1 on the season while his Mets pulled out another victory.
And yet all he could talk about was the fundamental lack of consistency and integrity of the very heartbeat of the game: the baseball.
Three more of his Mets teammates were hit by pitches on Tuesday night, including Pete Alonso getting beaned in the helmet for the second time this season already. Through their first 19 games, New York batters have been hit 18 times — and frustration is boiling over, to say the least.
“It’s extremely annoying to see your teammates constantly get hit,” Bassitt said. “If we get hit by certain pitches, it is what it is. But to get hit in the head the amount we’re getting hit is unbelievable. 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.”
Not only has Major League Baseball been accused of using different baseballs — which not only provide different flight paths of the baseball but impact the ability of a pitcher to grip the ball — but they also outlawed sticky substances that hurlers use to get a handle of it.
“They’re all different,” Bassitt said. “The first inning they’re decent. The third inning they’re bad. The fourth inning they’re OK. The fifth inning they’re bad.
“We have different climates and everything is different. There’s no common ground with the balls. There’s nothing the same. Outing to outing, they’re bad.”
It’s why you’re seeing an abundance of Mets players and batters around the league getting plunked as pitchers might as well be wielding weapons. That’s exactly what a baseball is when a pitcher throwing over 90 mph can’t throw it over the plate.
“Everyone knows it. Every pitcher in the league knows it. [The baseballs are] bad,” Bassitt continued. “They don’t care. MLB doesn’t give a damn about it. They don’t care. We’ve told them that there are problems with them. They don’t care.”
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His catcher, James McCann put forth a solution to bring some control back to the pitchers, which would be best for all parties involved.
“As far as I’m concerned, put an on-deck circle behind the mound, give them a pine tar rag, the sunscreen, and the rosin and let them use that stick,” McCann said (h/t Mike Puma, New York Post). “That stuff has proven it’s not going to improve somebody’s arsenal. It’s going to give them grip.
“It’s 2022 and there is enough technology out there to figure out the baseballs… we should have an answer.”