Mets manager Mickey Callaway called the relationship between rookie sensation Pete Alonso and New York a “perfect fit.”
Alonso is having a stellar rookie season and has been named to the NL All-Star team. He was hitting .281 with 29 home runs and 66 RBIs entering play Saturday night. He and Albert Pujols (in 2001) are the only rookies to compile 66 RBIs before the All-Star Game break.
Callaway said he believes that playing in New York has contributed to Alonso’s success.
“He embraces it. He’s made for this city. He loves the energy of it,” he said. “It makes him a better ballplayer. He comes to the field every day to win and it’s fun to watch. And he feeds off the fanfare and the big moment.”
Millan pays a visit
Forty-two years after he played his final game for the team, Felix Millan still says “we” when he talks about the Mets. He is retired in Florida and watches all the games. “We’re not playing too good. The relievers are not doing a good job. But that’s the way it is. Sometimes we play a bad game and we win,” he said Saturday during a weekend in which he is one of the visiting alumni.
Having helped the Mets win the 1973 pennant, he played in all 162 games in 1975. The most memorable was July 21, when he hit four singles in a 6-2 loss to the Astros. Joe Torre followed him in the order that day and became the first National League batter to hit into four double plays in one game. “I told him, `You’re supposed to hit it out of the ballpark, not a ground ball.’ That’s his fault,” Millan said. “Now he’s in the record book.”
Fisher recalls Shea Stadium
Jack Fisher, another visiting alumnus, recalled being the first ever to pitch in Shea Stadium, in its 1964 debut. “I thought it was a fair stadium to pitch in. It wasn’t a big ballpark, it wasn’t a small ballpark. With the crowds, especially when the Dodgers or the Giants were in town, it was a fun place to play,” he said.
Fisher had many good games for the Mets, but the team was so bad that his record in four seasons with the club was 38-73. So, he can empathize with Jacob deGrom’s tough luck. “All you can do is go out and do your job and keep your club in the ballgame,” Fisher said, adding, “He’s a better pitcher than I was. He’s got better stuff. He’s great to watch.”