Pete Alonso knows nothing comes easy in this league. His team is struggling, and so is he. But as always, he sees that only as an opportunity.
For Pete Alonso, the year he had last season was so sensational he might never duplicate it again.
Alonso reached heights no player ever saw.
The odyssey began on a night in Cleveland when Pete Alonso burst into the national scene with a win in the Home Run Derby.
Returning to a sober Mets clubhouse amid tales being spun by fellow All-Star Jeff McNeil – “You guys won’t believe what I just saw” – Alonso soon found himself cast in a different role.
The snowball was downhill from there, even to the point where Pete Alonso found himself replacing the injured Aaron Judge as the face of baseball in New York.
From there, the Mets took on a face of their own, divorced from the dysfunctional front office distractions.
A flourishing finish to the end of the season, yet when all was said and done, there was no place to go but home.
Always effervescent and eager to please, Alonso tried to play it half-way during the offseason.
“I can’t wait for the new season to begin so we can finish what we started” quotes filled the airwaves and back pages of New York newspapers.
It was refreshing, and Mets fans couldn’t help but wrap themselves around the opportunity to bask in the sunlight for a moment.
That is, even while the front office was dealing with another debacle in hiring Carlos Beltran, only to see him embarrassingly dismissed in favor of yet another rookie manager, Luis Rojas.
Three, then four months passed while baseball waded through the effects of a pandemic. Pete Alonso waited too, itching to get back on the field to learn if he could meet the expectations driven by last year.
Some will say that Pete Alonso has come back to earth, and they will point to a very pedestrian .211 batting average and a mere two home runs.
But Pete Alonso is a different breed of a major league player. He’s not like Gary Sanchez, a cross-town rival with similar stats and expectations, but seemingly lost in a fog.
No, we don’t hear a peep from Pete Alonso. No excuses, no whining, just a man walking into the clubhouse every day with a “Let’s win this one tonight ” demeanor that leads a struggling team through one more day of a historic baseball season.
Sooner or later, Alonso is going to be tagged as a throwback, the player who rolls with the punches in a game where the best players fail seven of every ten times they come to bat.
The so-called Sophomore Jinx applies only to players who buy into we try harder fallacy, but not Pete Alonso.
Everything about “Polar Bear” suggests the stats we see today are temporary, even if he doesn’t realize the plateau set last year.
The Mets have climbed back to 7-9 following Jacob deGrom‘s lead with a victory over the surprising Marlins.
Alonso was hitless in the game, and his average dipped below the Mendoza Line (.197).
But just the same, it’s a good bet that Pete Alonso’s name is already written in tomorrow’s lineup for the Mets.
You don’t mess around with a player with the makeup of the Polar Bear.
Because chances are he’ll figure it out before anyone else does.