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Pete Are The Champions

Should I be alive and sentient when the Mets win their third world championship, I shall enjoy it greatly. I mean really enjoy it greatly. I shall buzz around all night, perhaps for weeks, just soaking in the reality that we have topped everybody and therefore cannot be topped. I will flip to every channel, click on every link, amplify every celebratory instinct that pulsates through me. I suppose I knew that before Monday night, but now I am sure, for Pete Alonso [1] has reminded me what winning a championship feels like.

A championship — a title definitively captured immediately and viscerally. Nothing that needs to be judged and awarded later. Nothing dependent any longer on what anybody else does. Nothing provisional or partial. That instant when the most that can be won is won and there is nothing left to win because we, the Mets, have won it.

That’s what we got a simulation of on Monday night when Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby, a demonstration in microcosm (or Alonsocosm) of how it might be if/when we witness the real thing. Pete wore a Mets uniform, hit more home runs than his opponent in each of three rounds and exulted as we wish a Met to do. Only as humble as he needs to be, the Polar Bear roared. Or growled. Or whatever it is Polar Bears do after hitting home runs.

It didn’t count in the sense that home runs hit in an exhibition devoted solely to home runs for the sake of home runs aren’t reflected in official player statistics and the team for whom the player plays isn’t moved an iota in the standings of record. But that Mets uniform. And that exultation. And the fact that it was a competition with all of baseball’s eyes on it. And the fact that Pete knocked off three fine sluggers — including North America’s newest slugging darling, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. — en route to raising arms, flipping bats and being as delighted over a feat that doesn’t count as anybody could be…

It counted enough for one night. It counted enough so that I wanted to multiply Alonso in his moment of glory by 25 and revel in a team of champions. We take Pete and Jeff McNeil and Jacob deGrom, each of them together on that field in Cleveland, and we add to them, we cultivate them, we dream on them and then, some night in weather likely more suited to actual polar bears, we thrill to a group Mets achievement that dwarfs a silly television contrivance that there’s little chance I’d have paid much attention to had a Met not been as involved as he was.

This was great [2]. I long for greatest.