Mets' Buck Showalter calls for change amid batters being hit by wild pitches, thinks sticky crackdown to blame

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Buck Showalter is tired of seeing his players get hit by pitches while batting. 

Nearly a dozen New York Mets players have been hit by pitches during the first week of the season, and Mets manager Showalter expressed his frustration Friday on WFAN’s “Carton & Roberts.”

METS’ FRANCISCO LINDOR HIT IN THE FACE BY WILD PITCH, NATIONALS’ STEVE CISHEK EJECTED

“Let’s be frank about it,” Showalter said. “Gripping a baseball, the pitchers took it too far with the Spider Tack and made it a pitching advantage with spin rate and everything, and now I’m not so sure we haven’t gone too far the other way. Trying to grip a baseball that’s been rubbed with mud in April and early May and October is real slick. The rosin just doesn’t do as much as you think. Somehow I think we’ve gone too far.”

Francisco Lindor (12) of the New York Mets is hit by a pitch thrown by Steve Cishek of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park April 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.  

Francisco Lindor (12) of the New York Mets is hit by a pitch thrown by Steve Cishek of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park April 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.  
(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Showalter instead advocated for some sort of “universal” substance to help pitchers improve their grip. 

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“I’ve always pushed for a universal pitching rag behind the mound where guys can tap their fingers, and you won’t have guys getting hit nearly as much. I think a lot of hit-by-pitches are guys can’t grip the baseball.

“Let’s say everybody hit without batting gloves, pine tar and wraps around your bat. Because a pitcher is supposed to have his tool without gripping it, yet a batter can do whatever he wants to grip a bat. Just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Manager Buck Showalter of the New York Mets watches a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park April 9, 2022, in Washington, D.C. 

Manager Buck Showalter of the New York Mets watches a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park April 9, 2022, in Washington, D.C. 
(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Despite his frustration, Showalter isn’t looking for Mets players to retaliate. 

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“Does stupid fix stupid?” he asked rhetorically. “As one of the leaders of our team, you have to have a grip on reality. It’s easy to show how tough you are and then someone is in a pool of blood. It’s frustrating for us, but I’m certainly not going to penalize guys if it’s not intentional. But, at the same time, if you wanna throw in there, don’t do it if you can’t control it.”

The benches clear after Steve Cishek (33) of the Washington Nationals hits Francisco Lindor (12) of the New York Mets with a pitch in the fifth inning of a game at Nationals Park April 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

The benches clear after Steve Cishek (33) of the Washington Nationals hits Francisco Lindor (12) of the New York Mets with a pitch in the fifth inning of a game at Nationals Park April 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The MLB last season announced a crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances to gain an advantage. Players caught using foreign substances will immediately be ejected from the game and receive a 10-game suspension. 

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