Polar Bear Power – Pete Alonso Wins The Home Run Derby
Prior to the beginning of the season, it was unknown whether Pete Alonso would make the Opening Day roster. Wowing the team in Spring Training, New York Mets brass had no choice but to call him the Opening Day first baseman. In the first half of the season, Alonso made a name for himself in the New York area.
After last night’s Home Run Derby, the world became aware of the “Polar Bear” Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old Alonso put on a show in Cleveland to become the 2019 Home Run Derby Champion. he outlasted Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who hit 91 home runs throughout the night. Alonso had 57.
It was not an easy feat to accomplish. With family member Derek Morgan struggling to find his command, something the Mets’ bullpen is very familiar with, Alonso found a way to power through. Alonso hit 14 in round one, walking off against the Indians’ Carlos Santana to a chorus of boos. One of the nicest players in the game had a bad boy moment, similar to Shawn Michaels whenever he walked into Montreal following The Screwjob.
Watching Pete hit homers like….. pic.twitter.com/4DkSxVH95m
— Jeff McNeil (@JeffMcNeil805) July 9, 2019
Alonso hit 20 in the semi-finals, his longest home run going 467 feet. That was against the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr., who had 19. It was another case of trying to beat the clock, and Pete continued his epic run in order to head into the finals.
In his way was Guerrero Jr., another rookie who had only eight home runs heading into the Home Run Derby. Prior to the finals, Guerrero was putting on a show, especially in the second round against Joc Pederson, where they had to do a three-bat playoff twice. Guerrero struggled at first in the finals but heated up when it mattered the most. He ended up with 22 dingers, each impressive after the next. The pressure was on for Alonso.
Luckily, Alonso has done well under pressure. With 30 home runs prior to the All-Star break, Alonso has helped the Mets remain relevant throughout this lost season. He wasn’t going to stop now. Alonso struggled at the beginning as well, only hitting eight prior to taking a time out with 2:47 on the clock. It was both fatigue and Morgan’s lack of knowledge on the mound that was troubling. Alonso fought on, however, and hit ten with 1:02 left to go. He then hit back-to-back shots to tie and win the contest, with his last home run going 429 feet with an exit velocity of 112 mph.
With a smile on his face, Alonso showed just how powerful he really is. New York has now won Home Run Derby’s two of the last three years. In 2017, Aaron Judge edged Miguel Sano in Miami to become a champion. As a result, Alonso nearly doubled his salary by winning the $1 million prize. He stated prior to the Derby that he would donate 10% of his purse to a number of charities around the New York area.
While there are questions surrounding how the Home Run Derby can affect a persons swing, for one night, Mets fans felt joy. If his success can carry over into the second half without any issues, Alonso’s name will continue being talked about around the baseball world.
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