In only one year, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso helped change the way fans felt about this team’s future.
On September 25th, despite beating up on the Miami Marlins 10-3, the New York Mets were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, leaving no more team goals to aspire towards. But, one bright light shined clear as day, blinding any late-season disappointment. It’s name? Pete Alonso.
Just a few days after being eliminated, Alonso crushed his 53rd home run setting a new single-season rookie record and becoming the first rookie to lead the MLB outright in home runs. In a season where the Mets did not achieve their ultimate goal, Alonso was still able to shatter various records.
Alonso gave this team hope and the fans grew increasingly more faithful in the young talented core lead by none other than the rookie sensation. Fans, myself included, cannot contain their excitement for the future, the late-season surge serving as a glimpse of what’s to come.
His never-ending list of personal accolades gave fans something to take pride in when it seemed that the team was in the midst of another disheartening season. The home run derby, taking place in early July when it seemed the Mets season was on a downward trajectory, serving as one of the most obvious examples.
The Mets were under .500 and had recently, and to the fan’s great relief, emerged from a seven-game losing streak. Alonso defeated Vladimir Guerrero Jr., another talented rookie, by one home run, becoming the Mets’ first-ever outright champion.
The excitement surrounding the rookie’s first massive MLB achievement was immeasurable. At that moment, fans knew he was special.
Not to mention all of the talk regarding Alonso quickly turning into the face of the franchise and someday living up to the legacy of captain David Wright, massive shoes to fill. To Mets fans, Alonso is the perfect combination of elite athletic ability and incredible character, making him the ideal candidate to succeed someone as instrumental to the team as Wright.
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The dedication and drive displayed by Alonso seemed to influence the rest of the team thus being one of the numerous reasons why many believe he has the ability to take on a leadership role similar to that of Wright.
He is constantly motivating the squad to improve and putting team goals before any personal ones evident in a post-game interview where he spoke only of his desire to play October ball, not of his inevitable, record-breaking 53rd home run.
Fans love the relationship between him and fellow first baseman Dominic Smith and all throughout Spring Training, when the two were fighting for the starting job, Alonso did nothing but encourage him. They served as each other’s biggest supporters becoming extremely clear when they embraced following Alonso’s exit in their final game.
Small actions such as these display the character possessed by Alonso and give fans hope for the kind of team leader, he could develop into in the years to come.
His stand up nature was further demonstrated by the custom 9/11 memorial cleats he ordered for each of his teammates which he then donated following their use. Alonso also invited the fans who returned his record-breaking home run ball onto the field and signed gear for them, turning the loss of the prized ball into a memory they will never forget.
Additionally, and perhaps the most important new tradition, Alonso began the entertaining practice of aggressively ripping off players jerseys following a walk-off win. While this may seem trivial and unimportant to the actual game, Alonso sparked a sense of excitement and fun with this idea further demonstrating how his presence has lifted the team.
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From personal accolades to selfless actions, from humorous antics to motivating interview clips Alonso never fails to put a smile on our faces and give us hope that the future of this team is in very capable hands.