The Mets and Pete Alonso missed each other in last year’s shortened season. But what if, as all signs point to now, 2021 is different?
The Mets and Pete Alonso, for whatever reason(s), did not connect last year. Whether it was the rebound of a superhuman record-setting rookie home run season, capitalized by a drama-filled win in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game, something didn’t click last year for with the Mets or Alonso.
Failure was everywhere during last season’s COVID shortened 60-game season. Individual performances from All-Star players like Christian Yelich, Gary Sanchez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joey Gallo, and the list including Pete Alonso goes on.
Mets And Pete Alonso Turning The Page
This year, in Spring Training, Pete Alonso looks good, and Pete Alonso feels good.
“I’m delighted with how things are going right now,” Alonso said last Thursday, and he’s only 5-for-8 with three extra-base hits since. “I feel like I’m in a pretty good flow of things. I want to keep coming in, working diligently and sticking to my plan.” is what he told The Athletic last week.
The key phrase is this – “sticking to my plan” – because nothing accentuates Pete Alonso’s development more than his retrospective assessment during the offseason that his personal decision(s) to make an about-face on behaviors previously accepted as routine for major league ballplayers these days.
Pete Alonso: Small Things Equal Big Things
First to go was the voluntary deletion of Pete Alonso’s personal Twitter account. No one, as far as we know, said, Pete, do this.
For “Polar Bear,” as he is lovingly referred to by Mets fans, this was a conscious “who the hell needs it” decision made by Alonso himself.
Calling on himself to take care of the things that really matter in life, it seems that Alonso cannot name a more important phase of his life (now) than playing first base for the New York Mets and doing all he can to help his team win a World Series Title.
How refreshing, and you have to wonder why so many of his peers never arrive at that one single truth, choosing instead to engage in the distractions of “stardom” – at the peril of the main reason they are here – in The Show.
Mets: Protect And Serve The Face Of Your Future
Unlike, for example, Reggie Jackson, who seemed to be propelled by forces that urged him to proclaim at one point in his Yankees career to tell the world, “I am the straw that stirs the (Yankees) drink,” Pete Alonso is of a different breed.
Alonso’s goal is simple, and that’s to do all he can to contribute to a Mets team that is on the cusp of doing something special in the city of New York.
He knows the core is there with Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and hopefully Francisco Lindor, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Conforto who will elect to extend their careers as a New York Met.
Oh, for sure he remembers that glorious night in Cleveland when he triumphantly emerged as the Home Run Derby winner.
Returning to the Mets clubhouse escorted by teammate McNeil to the oohs and ahs of his peers, and how that (almost but not quite) propelled his team to doing something extraordinary in the 2019 postseason.
Without saying so, the Mets PR department should gently pass the word among the beat writers who cover this team to “lay off” Pete Alonso whenever possible. Let him be. You won’t need the sound bites if you watch what he does on the field.
In New York, of course, that’s easier said than done.
Listen To What The Man Says…
But although it’s hard, maybe all we need to do is listen to what the man says, putting ourselves in his shoes as he attempts to do the most difficult thing in professional sports – hit a 100 mph fastball square on the bat and the concentration it takes to do that.
In his own words, Pete Alonso tries to communicate that notion to us:
“I have to focus on the day-to-day things, the little meticulous things, and then let all of those things snowball into what the big goal is,” Alonso said at the start of spring training. “That’s why the game of baseball is so difficult.
Not only is it demanding physically, but mentally you have to come in every single day and give it all your mental attention. To get mentally tired or mentally weak, that’s when the game can bite you in the ass. So for me, I have to focus on the day-to-day and keep rolling.”
Let him be, let him be – there will be an answer, let him be…