Without a baseball season starting , we don’t know precisely what we’ll be missing. Some things, however, we do know.
We do know our familiar rhythms will be off from being on collective hiatus, as what was going to be Opening Day dawns as just another weekday.
We do know what waking up on Opening Day is like and how, come Thursday morning, we won’t have rushing through our veins that annual blend of nervousness and anticipation that inevitably attends the very first pitch of a brand new year.
We might forget, come 1:10 PM EDT, that our lives aren’t clicking into their usual place, the space we choose to inhabit as baseball fans, but we do know we will wish we could slide right back in as soon as it hits us that, oh yeah, I’d be watching the Mets game right now.
Yet we don’t know exactly what, or who, we will be missing in the realm of a Met we didn’t fully see coming and a Met we didn’t fully see staying as the Met we can’t not look at. We don’t know who, if anybody, was going to be the Pete Alonso of 2020…not counting Pete Alonso, who we hope will still be the Pete Alonso of 2020 when/if 2020 comes back around in the baseball sense.
Pete wasn’t what you’d call a mystery guest as we played What’s Our Lineup? entering 2019, but the scale of “Pete Alonso” as we understand him today was someone we couldn’t have recognized late last March. What could have we possibly expected a year ago? Minor leaguer who’d hit a bunch of home runs the year before; reportedly not much of a first baseman; it would sure be great if he made the team and shows something.
Boy did he ever.
Every Met who’s ever been a Met (1,091 to date) has an origin point within our universe, but it is rare to meet the Met/greet the Met who defines his and our time almost upon arrival. It goes beyond a Met showing up and performing well. Some guys just make that first year in front of us their own. Even with varying degrees of warning, bracing for impact proves pointless in hindsight. These Mets were meteors landing louder in our backyard than we could have reasonably guessed. Betting the under didn’t bother you after the fact because wasn’t it fantastic to have a Met overdeliver?
Since we began doing Faith and Fear fifteen years ago, I can think of four Mets who showed up and immediately “changed everything” to an extent that transcended the team’s record and their own statistics. They weren’t just pleasant surprises or promising new faces. They were everything instantly and then some. Life felt one way before them and utterly different with them.
• Pedro Martinez in 2005
• R.A. Dickey in 2010
• Yoenis Cespedes in 2015
• Pete Alonso in 2019
Martinez was hardly a stealth acquisition, yet the sheer Pedroness of what he meant to the Mets in his first year at Shea was stunning. He pitched like Pedro Martinez most of that season, even if, at 33, he couldn’t have matched the standards he established in Montreal and Boston. Pedro was an event regardless of runs allowed. That the Mets improved in accordance with his presence didn’t hurt.
Dickey was the epitome of a stealth acquisition. He filtered in through the vents at Citi Field and provided a blast of fresh air. Nobody ever talked quite like R.A. and nobody pitched exactly like he did. Though the apex of his success was a couple of years away, he began endearing himself to us ASAP and never stopped.
Cespedes was the deadline acquisition you dream of prior to the deadline and produced at a pace you wouldn’t have dared dream possible when the trade gets made. He produced a pennant, for goodness sake.
Pedro Martinez, R.A. Dickey and Yoenis Cespedes each respectively joined an existing cast of Mets. Within minutes of their debut, they catapulted their names atop the marquee of our consciousness. This was Pedro’s team from April 4 onward in 2005. You couldn’t take your eyes or ears off Dickey when he started throwing and talking about his knuckleball on May 19, 2010. Cespedes was traded for on Friday, July 31, 2005. Before the weekend was out, we were all getting fitted for neon-green compression sleeves.
What those three Mets who rocked our paradigm had in common was they’d come to us from elsewhere — even Dickey, who had lingered for an eternity in obscurity, had stamps on his MLB passport. Not Pete Alonso , though. Pete was ours from the moment the rooster crowed, a fresh-cracked egg in the lingo of ubiquitous fast food breakfast commercials. He emerged from his shell on Opening Day 2019 and, no yolk, we never looked back with a shred of regret. Really, all we did as we took in the whole of this magnificent beast was look forward. We looked forward to the next at-bat, the next swing, the next trot around the bases, the next number on the milestone countup.
Yet it was about more than an ungodly accumulation of Met home runs. There was something about the way Alonso carried himself and his ballclub. You wanted to watch Pete do everything. You wanted to hear and read everything Pete was thinking. You wanted to live in Pete’s world for a few hours every night and reflect on the state of that planet for a spell the next afternoon.
That’s what Opening Day 2019 presaged without our knowing it. Something like that doesn’t happen every season, but it happened in the most recent one. We can only guess when it will happen again. Same for when we’ll get a season.
Until then, join us for an extended Polar Bear Flashback: almost each and every one of Pete Alonso’s 53 home runs from last year, as told by Faith and Fear in Flushing directly after they disappeared into the stratosphere. (We somehow missed one while it was in orbit, but we never claimed FAFIF was NASA.)
Welcome aboard the first active roster of 2019 to the eight Mets who have never been Mets before: Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Wilson Ramos, Keon Broxton, J.D. Davis, Justin Wilson, Luis Avilan and Pete Alonso. […] A special welcome to Alonso, that rare breed of pristine rookie who makes an Opening Day roster. Get that service time going, son. Make it count.
—March 28, Nationals Park
1. Then Pete Alonso turned Steckenrider’s low fastball into a missile. Oh, it was wonderful — a sizzler to center, its trajectory a viciously efficient line drive rather than a majestic arc, instantly and obviously gone. Alonso high-stepped around the bases with his big aw-shucks grin, was greeted rapturously in the dugout and the Mets were up by four.
—April 1, Marlins Park
2. Alonso is up to two overall, one at the ballpark where was born to slug. Pete won’t be fenced in by any stadium, but this one is clearly his. Has a rookie in the eighth major league game of his life ever seemed so ready to roll? Not just in deed (which in Alonso’s case was done in the eighth inning, just prior to Cano’s) but in manner. Pete jumps up and down after he hits ’em like we jump up and down when he hits ’em. The whole team seems to be following his excited lead.
—April 6, Citi Field
3. [I]t was fun watching Pete Alonso scamper around…
—April 7, Citi Field
4. & 5. [I]n the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Swoboda, Pete Alonso [is] writing a new foreword to the Met record book. The first baseman whose service time clock ticks on sans regret hit two more home runs Tuesday to bring his season and lifetime total to five. No Met rookie before Pete had hit five home runs in his first ten career games. No rookie of any kind had accumulated eleven extra-base knocks in his first ten career games. Pete has. If his unprecedented power display doesn’t fully make up for the first Met losing streak of 2019, it sure as hell makes you look forward to the Mets’ next chance to break it.
—April 9, Citi Field
6. Everybody groans about the region’s horrible traffic, but if more commuters would park at the Pete & Ride, they’d get where they’re going in no time at all. Alonso’s two-run homer’s exit velocity was measured at 118.3 miles per hour. For reference purposes, that’s a homer hit as hard as hell. Perhaps harder. When Pete Alonso leaves a ballpark, Pete Alonso leaves a ballpark. Seriously, that thing struck water, specifically splashing into a decorative fountain beyond dead center field. That adorable touch of exterior decorating is a Metropolitan landmark now.
—April 11, SunTrust Park
7. In between [Lugo’s] frames, that young hellcat Pete Alonso — who’d somehow gone an entire week without exploring the real estate beyond National League fences — stepped up and belted a 432-foot home run to center off Cards reliever Ryan Helsley. Pete mashes all his taters off relievers. He loves the other team’s almost as much as Mickey is compelled to rely on his own.
—April 19, Busch Stadium
8. You want clickable highlights? You got to press “PLAY” to your heart’s content, albeit in a losing cause. Pete Alonso going 444 feet off erstwhile college rival Dakota Hudson was immediate social media gold, especially with the backstory that he beseeched Mickey Callaway to let him play the day after a pitch hit him in the hand. “I must rain down plagues on the House of Hudson!” Alonso righteously thundered as dramatic prelude to his eighth homer of the young year. Or Sweet Pete simply pestered his manager persistently and, ultimately, effectively. Either way, Alonso got even with whatever forces he had it in for in the first inning, launching a ball so far that it was not only hit off a Dakota, it probably landed in one.
—April 21, Busch Stadium
9. Pete Alonso provided a powerful antidote to the mounting blahs, but nothing anybody did well could overcome everything everybody adorned with dollops of ineptitude.
—April 27, Citi Field
10. Let’s celebrate the recently dormant power source known as Pete Alonso, who decided going down meekly was no way to continue a weekend in Milwaukee. Alonso’s leadoff homer in the ninth was a bolt of beauty. It was almost worth the staying up long thereafter that it mandated.
—May 4, Miller Park
11. Pete Alonso was National League Rookie of the Month for April and National League Rookie of the Night on Tuesday. He is a veteran in kid’s clothing any time you hear him speak. He is a franchise player exploding all around us. […] Let’s just say Pete took Petco out for a walk, pulling a two-run, ninth-inning job to the Western Metal building that, had the edifice not gotten in the way, was bound to land somewhere in the Far East.
—May 7, Petco Park
12. Alcantara’s downfall arrived via back-to-back homers to Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto that left the Marlins behind 2-1 and then 3-1. The homers were a fun contrast: Alonso’s just cleared the fence in right-center, and was basically muscled out of the park by our favorite gigantic enthusiastic rookie, while Conforto’s was a no-doubter, a fastball left over the plate that he destroyed.
—May 11, Citi Field
13. & 14. Pete Alonso is ridiculously fun to watch no matter what — he hit a 417-foot homer essentially with one hand in the second, then a no-doubter in the eighth, and continues to have a wonderful time surprising even himself.
—May 17, Marlins Park
15. Amed Rosario and Pete Alonso homered in the first and two innings later the Mets plated two more on a pair of walks, a Todd Frazier single and a double from Carlos Gomez.
—May 20, Citi Field
16. [N]o moment resonated as more milestone than Pete Alonso’s eighth-inning swing for the fences, and by fences, I mean the fences at LaGuardia’s Delta terminal. Oh, that baseball he connected with was soaring, all right — it flew high enough to slice Venus, never mind the space above the left field pole — but of more concern was the angle his breathtaking launch was taking. Fair? Foul? Somewhere in between somehow? I paused, as I imagine we all did to gauge its flight pattern. I hoped it was fair, I thought it was foul, I heard silence, I looked around. Was that Pete going into a trot? Was that a roar rising from the modestly sized crowd? Was that the Apple accurately elevating? Hey! It’s a home run! A Pete Alonso late & clutch home run at Citi Field! And I am there, Walter! Being in proximity to a Met doing a superb Met thing doesn’t usually strike me as overly noteworthy, but as I mentioned, I’d not been to a game yet this season, and this season has been the dawn of the Pete Alonso Era at Citi Field, so this was also the first time Pete and I linked our fates in the same facility. Yes, Pete Alonso gets his own era capitalized. We are all in his Polar Bear Club.
—May 21, Citi Field
17. “You can never have too many home runs. People love home runs!”
“I suppose. Let me take a look. Did you get an Alonso home run?”
“Like we’re gonna host a party and I’m not getting an Alonso home run. Of course I got an Alonso home run.”
—May 24, Citi Field
18. & 19. Highlights included Pete Alonso’s two homers, a sign that Alonso might have made the latest adjustment in the endless sequence of pitcher-hitter riposte-and-parry.
—May 29, Dodger Stadium
20. One of the Met runs driven in for a change at Citi Field against Bumgarner was by Pete Alonso via his 20th home run. Alonso needed a souped-up DeLorean to make it count in that Wild Card Game of yore, but let’s not put everything on Pete.
—June 4, Citi Field
21. Pete Alonso chipp[ed] in an insurance run with a homer just above the left-field wall. Alonso arrived at third along with the ball, then hung around a bit sheepishly in the dugout with his helmet on until the umpires declared that it was, in fact, a home run.
—June 8, Citi Field
22. Pete Alonso compacted the dimensions of Yankee Stadium even more Tuesday night with his 22nd homer of the season, placing him ahead of all local comers, including Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit and Oriole-feaster Gleyber Torres, to name three players I will now return to devoting no thought to. The Polar Bear is chilling as champ in every city ’cept Milwaukee. The Brewers have Christian Yelich, and Yelich has 25 homers at the moment. Alonso thus has the most unChristian home runs in the majors presently.
—June 11 (N), Yankee Stadium
23. “I call it Study of Launch Angle and Stuff. I smashed a home run as soon as I could to see how far and how fast it would leave the ballpark.”
“Uh-huh. And what were your findings?”
“See, I got this pitch from Michael Wacha in Mr. Shildt’s class and crushed the shit out of it…”
“Sorry, I get excited. I crushed it a lot and it flew a lot more.”
—June 15, Citi Field
24. Pete Alonso was on base six times, connecting for a home run that looked like a routine fly ball until it came down 425 feet away.
—June 18, SunTrust Park
25. Pete Alonso reached out and touched the hell out of a Tyler Chatwood fastball for a two-run homer to furnish Lockett with a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the third.
June 20, Wrigley Field
26. The power was sourced from Pete Alonso and two others. No disrespect to Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos, each adding eighth homers to their ledgers, but when Pete goes deep immediately, as he did in the first inning for a solo blast Bob Seger-style — against the wind — it’s hard to concentrate on what anybody else hits out. The Polar-izing figure’s 26th of the season tied him with Darryl Strawberry for the Mets rookie record and set the National League first-half rookie record, not likely the last time we use phrases involving “tied,” “set” and “record” where Pete and home runs are concerned.
—June 22, Wrigley Field
27. We don’t regret Pete Alonso hitting his 27th home run, thereby setting our franchise rookie record in our 78th game. We’d be making a bigger deal of this milestone — he surpassed Darryl Strawberry, for goodness sake — but we’ve had some incidents.
—June 23, Wrigley Field
28. The one thing the homestanding Mets accomplished Friday night in dropping a 6-2 decision to first-place Atlanta was not blowing a lead. They didn’t blow it because they never had it. They came close to taking one. In the seventh — after Jacob deGrom had pitched well if not as well as Mike Soroka, and Pete Alonso snapped his endless four-game homerless drought — the Mets looked very serious about closing the 3-1 advantage the Braves held on them.
—June 28, Citi Field
29. The Mets built a 2-1 lead behind Jacob deGrom. Pete Alonso blasted his 29th homer and later doubled in Jeff McNeil. Your three All-Stars were being a part of some beautiful goings-on.
—July 5, Citi Field
30. It’s another lost season, but somehow not one without its pleasures. The Mets’ first hit off Aaron Nola was a home run from Pete Alonso, leaving him standing alongside Dave Kingman as the only Met to hit 30 before the break.
—July 7, Citi Field
Pete Alonso 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.
—July 8, Progressive Field
31. Pete Alonso, America’s home run heartthrob, reminded us how close 474 feet from home plate can be in the hands of the above-average Bear. FOUR-HUNDRED SEVENTY-FOUR FEET…WHOA! Y’know? Yeah, Polar Pete powered a pitch from Matt Magill so high above the Twin Cities that it took out a heretofore sturdy television station transmitter and knocked WJM off the air. In his typical oblivious fashion, local anchorman Ted Baxter continued to read the news as if nothing had happened.
—July 17, Target Field
32. That would have been cruel — but not much more cruel than what actually happened, which was that Pete Alonso clubbed a homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead, except Chris Mazza — lanky with a certain mien of ironic acceptance — went out for a second inning of work and didn’t record a single out.
—July 18, Oracle Park
33. And then there was Pete Alonso, who greeted the news that he was being given a day off the way you’d hope — by complaining volubly, fussing in the dugout and then appearing for a sixth-inning pinch-hitting assignment that ended with him obliterating a baseball, sending it 444 feet to the opposite field. Alonso, numbers burnished and point proven, then got to continue his day of rest.
—July 20, Oracle Park
34. [Wheeler] gave up one homer on a night the Mets hit four (one dinger apiece from puppy pal Jeff McNeil, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos and, now with twice as many as the 17 Jay Payton belted in his rookie season, Pete Alonso), allowing three runs in all.
—July 26, Citi Field
35. Stephanie and I both watched on television as Alonso built a full count of his own. Pete hadn’t homered in what seemed like an ice age. There had been only nine consecutive games without one of his Arctic blasts, but we had gotten used to these things coming around every couple of days. The rookie, unfortunately, was gaining experience in slumping. It was pretty much the only thing he hadn’t done since appearing fully formed in our lives in late March. I don’t know if Pete Alonso has emerged from his slump, but I do know that he interrupted it very effectively in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game of Monday night’s Mets-Marlins doubleheader. Against Jeff Brigham, somehow still on the mound, the Polar Bear struck like the Polar Bear does, lining a fastball into the leftest portion of the left field stands. It didn’t rise particularly high, but it exited forcefully. When it did, it changed the scoreboard once more: Mets 5 Marlins 4. High-fives were exchanged. Stephanie went to bed. She can sleep through the endings of games like these. Go figure.
—August 5 (2nd), Citi Field
36. The four of us took our seats with our team 2½ games from the second National League Wild Card. After Zack Wheeler grounded the Marlins into submission — assisted by slick fielding from substitute DP combo Adeiny Hechavarria and Luis Guillorme and augmented by power displays off the bats of Wilson Ramos and Pete Alonso — the Mets were poised to inch closer.
—August 6, Citi Field
37. Wednesday’s series capper showed off all their strengths, not so long after enumerating the Mets’ strengths made you feel like a dutiful aunt trying to spruce up a shiftless nephew ahead of a wing-and-a-prayer blind date. The Mets rode home runs from Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso, awakened from his brief post-All-Star hibernation to continue his assault on the single-season club record for homers.
—August 7, Citi Field
38. The Mets did not overcome the first of two three-run deficits when Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis did not launch back-to-back fourth-inning home runs off Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg. For Alonso, it wasn’t his 38th home run, not moving him closer to both the National League rookie record and the Mets’ all-time single-season standard.
—August 9, Citi Field
39. On Thursday night the Mets came roaring out of the gate against Julio Teheran, with Pete Alonso smashing a ball into the pool far beyond center field. It was one of those Alonso home runs that reminded you just how strong he is: Alonso didn’t connect with a ball in his happy zone or put a classic slugger’s swing on it, the one that ends with the satisfied look skyward and dropping of a no-longer-needed bat. (A Todd Frazier special, in other words.) Rather, Alonso reached across the plate for the pitch and hit it near the end of the bat, only to have the ball go 430-odd feet anyway.
—August 15, SunTrust Park
40. Familia did allow a run, but it was a point in the game where you’re more concerned with counting down outs, and the Mets would keep the Royals at bay behind another Rosario RBI double and Alonso’s 40th homer, a nice round number that leaves him one shy of the prime number that would tie the single-season club mark.
—August 18, Kauffman Stadium
41. Saturday, though, the folks who lined up for the fireworks could enjoy a premature explosion, Pete taking Max Fried on a VIP tour of that black backdrop that surrounds the Alonso Apple in center field. They might as well rename it for Pete, who has made it ascend 21 times, already the twelfth-most in Citi Field history. That’s the twelfth-most of any Met in the course of a post-2009 Met career, courtesy of a kid who’s worked at the ballpark less than five months. As all of Pete’s home runs seem to be, whether aesthetically or narratively, it was a big one. Alonso’s three-run blast gave the Mets a 5-4 lead, climaxing a fifth inning in which our summertime heartthrobs displayed their best selves. […] Pete got ahold of a fastball and let it fly. It went 451 feet, it was worth three runs in a playoff chase, and it sent at least one heretofore seated veteran Mets fan from his couch into the kind of vertical leap that surprised even the leaper. “Man,” I thought, “he just tied the record.”
—August 24, Citi Field
42. Lest we be overtaken by sullenness, how about a huzzah for Pete? Forty-two huzzahs, to be exact. Fifty-eight seasons of Mets baseball, and we saw something Tuesday night that never crossed our path during the first fifty-seven. Like just about all of Pete’s previous 41 home runs, No. 42, when struck in the fourth inning, was enormous in form and impact. It shot out to right-center like a comet; it crashed into a barrier a couple of planets from home plate; it shoved a couple of fellas of genuine Met renown a respectful notch downward in our statistical annals; and it pushed the Mets ahead of the Cubs, 1-0.
—August 27, Citi Field
43. (Pete Alonso’s forty-third home run, a solo job off the Phillies’ Zach Eflin in the first inning on Sunday Night Baseball on September 1 — his first at Citizens Bank Park — eluded the FAFIF recap of the 5-2 Mets loss the homer couldn’t prevent. Some details fall away in the course of recounting a long season already in progress. For the record, No. 43 traveled over the left field wall at a speed of approximately 96 MPH, landing an estimated 390 feet from home plate.)
44. The Mets proceeded to sail on Hudson. A wild pitch. An error. A walk. An incredibly baffling error of omission by Trea Turner who didn’t turn an easily turnable 6-4-3 double play, instead throwing to first with one out. McNeil responded by singling in two more runs and Alonso followed with his 44th home run of the season, the Polar Bear marking Nationals Park as his territory for the first time since the 2018 Futures Game. Heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Mets held a lead of 10-4.
—September 3, Nationals Park
45. As has so often been the case in this strange, maddening but rarely boring Mets season, it was Pete Alonso who made me cheer up a little and start listening to the game like it was just a goddamn game. Alonso’s fifth-inning homer was a line drive right down the left-field line, a trajectory initially baffling to Howie and Wayne, and forgivably so because what precedent is there for Pete Alonso? That was No. 45 for the Polar Bear, it gave the Mets a 4-1 lead, and it gave me permission to think that maybe, just maybe, this might not end horribly.
—September 4, Nationals Park
46. & 47. Pete Alonso, the Met with the most home runs in any season, socked a pair to raise his total to 47. Breathe that in for a moment. A Met has 47 home runs. It was a big deal when Pete got to 42. Pete just keeps getting more. He has a shot at leading all of baseball at losing baseballs, which he’s already doing. He’s within reach of 50, which nobody anywhere used to hit more than maybe once per baseball generation. He can share the rookie record of 52 with Aaron Judge or, preferably, set a new one with 53.
—September 9, Citi Field
48. And, of course, there’s Pete Alonso. The Polar Bear awoke from his home-run slumber to club a ball 467 feet into the Denver night, his 48th of the season. The club RBI mark is probably out of reach, but 50 homers is not, and “I’m disappointed Alonso won’t also break the single-season RBI record as a rookie” is a complaint deserving a truly microscopic violin as accompaniment.
—September 17, Coors Field
49. Then we got to the eighth and back to September of 2019, with one run scratched out so tenuously you wondered whether it worth the trouble of trudging to the medicine cabinet to find the tube of cortisone you were pretty sure was still in there from your last bout with hives. Alonso, who briefly raised hope and unfurled tape measures in the sixth with his 49th homer of the season (distance: somewhere on the outskirts of Boulder), led off with a single.
—September 18, Coors Field
50. Either way you heard it, it looked like it would never come down. It finally did, somewhere amid Great American’s kitschy riverboat backdrop, appropriate enough in that Pete has sailed away with every single-season Met home run record that used to seem impressive. Geez, a Met has hit 50 home runs. Did you ever think such a total was possible from one of our guys?
—September 20, Great American Ball Park
51. The other Mets backed deGrom ably. Pete Alonso ended his minor power outage with his 51st homer, a no-doubter deep into the Flushing night…
—September 25, Citi Field
52. He’s tied George Foster. He’s done what I couldn’t grasp as a kid. He’s done what I saw only once as a teen. He’s done it while I’m an adult…and I can only kind of grasp what he’s done and thus have to keep repeating it to make certain it’s really happened. Pete Alonso has hit 52 home runs. For the New York Mets. As a rookie, with two games to go in his pure rookie season. WOW!
—September 27, Citi Field
53. Pete Alonso has set a home run record. It seems we should have our keyboards set up to generate that sentence with one click. The record in this instance is the major league mark for most home runs in a season by a rookie. Pete has 53. Second is every other rookie ever. Pete’s 53rd came in the third inning of Saturday night’s game at Citi Field, off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. It traveled far, deep and doubtless as it soared into history. We should have a single keystroke to take care of that sentence, too. Pete was awed by what he’d done. We all were and presumably still are. We’re Mets fans. We’ve been waiting our franchise’s entire lifetime for a Met like this. This is a Met unlike any other…or have you previously seen a Met introduce himself to us in March and proceed to hit 53 home runs for us before September ends? Pete is 161 games removed from the gate and he just keeps galloping. What fun it has been to have accompanied him on a romp that, careerwise, is only just starting. May his and our ride together continue at a brisk pace for seasons to come.
—September 28, Citi Field
Pete Alonso would have one more crack at one more homer. Pete didn’t need one more homer to lead the National League. He had that. Same for the major league lead, a first for a Met to hold at season’s end. I wanted Pete to hit No. 54 on merit — for mathematical symmetry, 162 games divided by 54 home runs equaling one every three games, which struck me as nearly as beautiful as Pete himself. I wanted Pete to match Ralph Kiner’s highest total, 54, because I’d occasionally imagined Ralph marveling at Pete’s power had Ralph still been with us. I wanted Pete to make it to 54 because it would certify that he’d kept the exact pace he was on before the Home Run Derby, the glorious contrivance Pete captured in July that the naysayers brayed was going to ruin the rookie forever, or at least the rest of the year. Pete seemed to recover OK from earning that enormous novelty check they gave him. Mostly, 54 would look good on Pete because it would win us the game on one swing. Pete had been very good with one swing 53 times already. His final swing of 2018, for Las Vegas, was of the walkoff home run variety, ending the Mets’ affiliation with the 51s along with his own affiliation with minor league baseball with as powerful an arrivederci as could be conjured. His final swing of 2019, however, amounted to no more than a foul pop…caught by Hechavarria.
—September 29, Citi Field
[A]s voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and revealed Monday night, Pete is the National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year, winning the award almost unanimously over a strong freshman slate that, honestly, didn’t seem particularly imposing by comparison to the man known popularly as the Polar Bear. Twenty-nine voters out of thirty listed Alonso atop their ballots; a lone misguided soul strained for a reason to stand apart from his colleagues and placed Pete second (there’s one in every crowd). Lack of unanimity notwithstanding, Alonso is the sixth Met to win the BBWAA’s NL ROY, following in the hallowed footsteps of Tom Seaver in 1967, Jon Matlack in 1972, Darryl Strawberry in 1983, Dwight Gooden in 1984 and Jacob deGrom in 2014.
—November 11, MLB Network Studio 21