New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has everything needed to become one of the faces of Major League Baseball.
Who is the most famous baseball player in the world right now? Sadly, the answer might be Tim Tebow. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Major League Baseball has often been criticized for how poorly their stars are marketed with Mike Trout as the prime example. Fortunately, there is one rising star the league has a shot at turning into a household name. It’s none other than New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso.
Okay, so let’s get transparent. This is a Mets blog. Of course we think Alonso is great, marketable, and someone even non-baseball fans should know about. We’re biased. It’s what fans do.
Let’s try and look at things from a more neutral position. We’re not calling Alonso the greatest player in the league. He might not even be the best at his position or in the city he plays.
There is, however, little doubt that Alonso has all of the makings of becoming one of the next faces of Major League Baseball. His power. His personality. The city he plays in. They are a marketer’s dream.
I know Alonso isn’t a member of the New York Yankees where even the fifth-best player on the team can have a poster on a bedroom wall in Idaho. He is a member of the Mets, a team that has a more regional fanbase.
When people refer to the Mets as the second team in New York I look back at the 1980s when this wasn’t necessarily the case. From 1984-1990, the Mets were as popular as any team in baseball. They had the big personalities of Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and others leading the way.
Non-New Yorkers knew who they were. Those Mets teams from that era had plenty of players who went beyond just the baseball world. Some, like I believe Alonso can, became names even common-folk knew.
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Alonso’s career is young but already he has done a lot to put himself “out there” to the public. He’s not afraid to speak his mind or show that baseball players are more than robots. With all due respect to Derek Jeter, I’m not sure there’s anyone in sports history as boring as him. Yet he became one of the most iconic athletes of the last three decades.
Imagine if Jeter was an extrovert like Alonso.
Every few weeks there seems to be some kind of debate as to whether or not baseball is dying. In 2020, it’s tougher to judge because of everything else surrounding the sport. Something that hasn’t changed is how few stars in the game are known nationally. MLB does a poor job at marketing its players, often shutting them down from having flair of any kind.
There’s a reason why we can name professional football players and NBA stars despite never watching them play the game. They are marketed much better. I haven’t watched an NFL or NBA game in years yet I could probably rattle off many of the game’s best stars. I don’t think die-hard football or basketball fans could do it with baseball.
I wouldn’t yet go as far as to say Alonso is the next face of Major League Baseball. He could be but after just one full season in the major leagues, it’s a rushed belief.
Alonso is marketable, though. I’m surprised we didn’t hear anything about a Coca Cola campaign considering his nickname is the Polar Bear. Heck, even Klondike could have gotten in on it and taken advantage of Alonso’s rising stardom in 2019.
“What would you do for a Klondike Bar? Would you hit 53 home runs?”
Admittedly, it needs some work.
It doesn’t really matter for Mets fans whether or not kids in New Mexico mimic Alonso’s batting stance on the sandlots—which if Breaking Bad taught me anything, everything could be turned into one.
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Alonso’s future is bright and could be filled with promotional campaigns unheard of for modern baseball players. He has all of the tools to make it happen on and off the field. It’s just a matter of MLB discovering the star power the league already has.