We all remember August 17, 2021. Chris Bassitt was struck in the face with a line drive, suffering multiple facial fractures that kept him off the mound for over a month. The Oakland A’s fell out of the playoffs in that time, unable to overcome the loss of their ace despite his efforts to return to the mound.
But there are questions about what exactly happened. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred admitted that the league used two different balls last season, one of which was livelier. Bassitt, understandably, has questions about which ball was used that day.
Chris Bassitt asking the important questions
As it is, one has to wonder if Manfred and the league will be in legal trouble due to their using different baseballs depending on the matchup. It may well be that the usage of a different ball could have kept a team such as the Blue Jays or Mariners out of the postseason, giving the league a far more marquee matchup of the Red Sox against the Yankees for the AL Wild Card.
Those issues could be magnified with Bassitt’s injuries. While there is likely no way of finding out whether or not the balls used in that game were livelier or not, just the idea that a different ball could have been used, and may have contributed to his being struck, has to be questioned.
To Manfred, this is likely not a big deal. They had different balls, so they used them. But this could have made a drastic difference in the standings. And it may have made a drastic difference to Bassitt as well, especially as he was staring down the line drive that came his way.
Chris Bassitt is wondering if he was struck with one of the lively balls when he was hit in the face. It is a fair question and one the league needs to answer.