Dominic Smith: Season-ending walk-off sends the Mets home happy
Dominic Smith started off 2019 in danger of losing a roster spot to his friend and fellow first baseman Pete Alonso. Both competed for the starting job in spring training, with Alonso ultimately winning out, but Smith traveled north with the team and made the most of his bench player status.
He began starting in left field and got his batting average up over .280, with a respectable OPS close to .900, when all of a sudden his season was halted. In late July, Smith was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left foot, which sidelined him until late September. He could not contribute on the field for much of the Mets’ thrilling second-half run, but he did rebrand himself as “biggest Mets cheerleader” during that time. Smith’s jubilant scoot out to center field on his “LFGM” scooter to celebrate Michael Conforto’s walk-off hit on August 9 perfectly summed up his enthusiasm.
By September 29, the Mets were eliminated from postseason contention, Alonso had already broken the rookie home run record, and the Amazins were staring at a two-run deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the season’s final game. Smith came into the game replacing Alonso in the top of the 11th inning, the same frame where the Braves hit back-to-back home runs to take a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Luis Guillorme got the action started with a single off of Braves lefty (and Mets fan favorite) Jerry Blevins. A couple of batters later, Wilson Ramos singled. Smith stepped up with two on and two out. As Gary Cohen reminded the TV audience, it was his first MLB at-bat in over two months. I’ll let Cohen tell us the rest.
With one of the most emphatic pen slams ever recorded, Cohen perfectly encapsulated the excitement of every Mets fan who might have forgotten about Smith until that moment. One mammoth left-handed swing later, Smith reminded us all that he was far too talented to play second fiddle to Alonso any longer.
After delighting Mets fans with his hilarious quips on “The Cookie Club,” Smith followed up that walk-off home run with a monster season in 2020. Hopefully, the walk-off was merely a preview of more clutch hits to come.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
All five of these players are among my favorite Mets players ever. They play with heart, flair, and fervent competitiveness. There are plenty of other recent and current quality players who have had success with the Amazins, but not every good player has as distinct a “signature moment” as these five players have had for the orange and blue.