Pete Alonso was made for the Home Run Derby — his power, his swagger, his spirit. If he retains going like this, Alonso may very well be the brand new Bobby Bonilla: each July, he’ll get a verify for $1 million.
Alonso, the Mets’ irrepressible first baseman, repeated because the Home Run Derby champion on Monday at Coors Field, profitable the $1 million prize. He additionally received in Cleveland in 2019, earlier than the pandemic canceled final 12 months’s occasion.
Alonso was not named to the 2021 National League All-Star group, however had no doubts that he would dominate the undercard for Tuesday night time’s recreation.
“I’m a power hitter, and I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” he stated. “Being able to showcase that and really put on a fun display for fans, it’s truly a dream come true for me, because when I was younger my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this.”
The Home Run Derby didn’t have a money prize again then. That incentive began in 2019, and with every victory, Alonso practically doubled his wage in a single night time of epic slugging. In baseball’s pay construction, which relies largely on service time, Alonso made the $555,000 minimal as a rookie in 2019, and his wage now’s simply $676,775.
Two years in the past, he had 30 dwelling runs on the break, on his technique to 53, a rookie file. Alonso has 17 now and was seeded fifth within the Derby. He stated his Mets teammates thought of that disrespectful, and requested if it made him mad.
“I’m like, ‘No, I’m going to win anyways, it doesn’t matter,’” Alonso stated. “This is such a fun time for me, it’s just all positive thoughts, fun thoughts. I’ve put myself in a really good position.”
Alonso requested for New York music to play whereas he hit, so he bopped his head and shimmied to Nas, Mobb Deep and the Notorious B.I.G. He used a bat with customized designs by Gregory Siff, an artist from Queens now primarily based in Los Angeles.
He launched a file 35 dwelling runs within the first spherical, and at the same time as his opponent, Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, bashed 28, Alonso stated he by no means frightened.
“No,” he stated. “As soon as I saw 35 up there I’m like, ‘That’s untouchable.’”
It was. Alonso then breezed previous Washington’s Juan Soto after which Baltimore’s Trey Mancini for the victory.
“He made it look real easy,” Mancini stated. “It didn’t seem like he got too tired.”
Alonso stated his technique was to preserve his vitality, drink loads of fluids and keep stretched and unfastened with the assistance of a therapeutic massage instrument. He additionally had a pitcher with uncanny precision: the Mets bench coach Dave Jauss.
“I don’t throw hard,” Jauss stated, smiling. “But I can close my eyes and hit a spot.”
Jauss, 64, stated he as soon as pitched a 100-inning recreation — for each groups — throughout his days as a shortstop at Amherst College in Massachusetts. (“We started with a 1-2 count,” he stated, “which helps.”) As a coach for the Boston Red Sox once they hosted the 1999 All-Star Game, Jauss threw batting observe for hours to the league’s high sluggers, together with Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Gonzalez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ivan Rodriguez.
His arm by no means will get sore, he stated, and his purpose continues to be true.
“He was putting it right in the breadbasket, right in the honey hole, right in the sweet spot of my swing,” Alonso stated. “That’s what we worked on in practice. He’s my everyday B.P. thrower and to be able to come out on top like this is really special, not just for me, but for him.”
Alonso smashed 74 homers in all, and topped Mancini’s final-round 22 with 31 seconds to spare. He joined Griffey and Yoenis Cespedes as the one back-to-back winners, and will clearly problem Griffey’s file of three total titles.
For now, although, Alonso would make no commitments to future derbies. His legacy within the occasion is safe, he stated, and with the Mets in first place within the N.L. East, Alonso’s focus has already shifted to a different purpose.
“As he says, the next time he and I are going to celebrate is going to be late October or early November on the field,” Jauss stated. “That’s what he wants.”