There wasn’t any hesitation. No hemming about the Home Run Derby and how it can affect a swing. When MLB officials contacted Pete Alonso’s agents, they didn’t even need to ask him. They already knew the answer.
“They knew I was about doing it,” Alonso said. “It’s something I always looked forward to it. I grew up kind of the same person I am now, kind of just a big power hitter, and it’s something like, man, hopefully I get to do this one day. I’m really excited and hopefully I get picked for the game, too.”
In the age of skeptics — many sluggers have decided to forgo the challenge lest they mess up their swing — Alonso stands out for his boundless enthusiasm. He already has a natural home run swing, hitting his 28th Friday, and intends to be careful in Cleveland.
“I understand that the Home Run Derby is a really special event, but I guess I’m going to go into it conscious that the important thing is performing during the season,” he said. “I want to be able to do the best I can during the Derby, but also, at the same time, I’m going to be conscious of the season.
“Playing for my team is the utmost priority. For me, this is something fun. I’m trying to win it, obviously, but I think for me, I just want to go out there, have fun and represent the Mets in a really great way.”
He already has picked out his pitcher: his cousin, Derek Morgan, a second baseman who played for St. Bonaventure. Morgan threw batting practice to Alonso in Atlanta and will do it again before or during the Subway Series, which begins Tuesday. They’ll practice Derby-style, then with a catcher.
“If I go up there and keep everything simple and say, hey, it’s my cousin throwing me BP, it’s going to be awesome,” Alonso said. “I’m just really excited.”
There’s just one thing that would make it even better: a chance to be on the field a day later at the All-Star Game.
“To do the game, that would be surreal,” he said. “That would be the total icing on the cake.”
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