Pete Alonso wins second straight home run derby

Pete Alonso was made for the Home Run Derby – his strength, his swagger, his wit. If he continues like this, Alonso could be the new Bobby Bonilla: every July he will receive a check for $ 1 million.

Alonso, the irrepressible Mets first baseman, repeated his Home Run Derby title on Monday at Coors Field, taking home the $ 1 million prize. He also won in Cleveland in 2019, before the pandemic canceled out last year’s event.

Alonso was not named to the 2021 National League all-star squad, but had no doubts he would dominate the undercard for Tuesday night’s game.

“I’m a powerful hitter and I think I’m the best powerful hitter on the planet,” he said. “To be able to show that and really do a fun demonstration for the fans is really a dream come true for me because when I was younger my parents allowed me to stay awake after bedtime to watch it.”

The Home Run Derby did not have a cash prize at the time. This incentive started in 2019, and with each win, Alonso nearly doubled his salary in a night of epic hits. In baseball’s salary structure, which is largely based on service time, Alonso hit the low of $ 555,000 as a rookie in 2019, and his salary is now only $ 676,775.

Two years ago, he had made 30 home runs at the break, en route to 53, a rookie record. Alonso is now 17 and was placed fifth in the derby. He said his Mets teammates viewed this as disrespectful and asked if it drove him crazy.

“I’m like ‘No I’m going to win anyway, it doesn’t matter,'” Alonso said. “It’s such a fun time for me, it’s just positive thoughts, funny thoughts. I put myself in a very good position. “

Alonso asked to play New York music while he punched, so he nodded and turned to Nas, Mobb Deep, and the Notorious BIG. He used a bat with custom designs by Gregory Siff, a Queens artist now based in Los Angeles.

He threw a record 35 home runs in the first round, and although his opponent, Salvador Perez of Kansas City, beat 28, Alonso said he never worried.

“No,” he said. “As soon as I saw 35 of them up there, I was like ‘This is untouchable.'”

It was. Alonso then passed Washington’s Juan Soto and then Baltimore’s Trey Mancini for the win.

“He made it really easy,” Mancini said. “He didn’t look like he was too tired.

Alonso said his strategy was to conserve energy, drink plenty of fluids, and stay stretched and relaxed using a massage tool. He also had a disconcertingly accurate pitcher: Mets bench coach Dave Jauss.

“I’m not throwing hard,” Jauss said with a smile. “But I can close my eyes and get a point.”

Jauss, 64, said he already pitched a 100 innings game – for both teams – during his days as a shortstop at Amherst College in Massachusetts. (“We started off with a 1 to 2 count,” he said, “which helps.”) As coach of the Boston Red Sox when they hosted the 1999 All-Star Game, Jauss kicked off batting practice for hours at the top hitters in the league. , including Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Gonzalez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ivan Rodriguez.

His arm never hurts, he said, and his purpose is always true.

“He was putting it right in the bread loft, right in the honeypot, right in the sweet spot of my swing,” Alonso said. “This is what we have been working on in practice. He’s my daily BP launcher and being able to come out on top like that is really special, not just for me, but for him. “

Alonso smashed 74 homers in total and dominated Mancini’s final round with 31 seconds to spare. He joined Griffey and Yoenis Cespedes as the only back-to-back winners and could clearly challenge Griffey’s record of three overall titles.

For now, however, Alonso would not make any commitments for future derbies. His legacy in the event is secure, he said, and with the Mets in first place in the NL East, Alonso’s attention has already shifted to another focus.

“As he says, the next time he and I go to celebrate it will be late October or early November on the pitch,” Jauss said. “That’s what he wants.

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