Mets’ Pete Alonso rediscovering 2019 Polar Bear vibe

The What Have You Done For Us Lately? Crowd isn’t the sole property of New York, but it is everpresent and omnipresent when you set the bar as high as Pete Alonso did in his historic rookie season.

The bar is never lowered by the What Have You Done For Us Lately? Crowd. It stays open long after last call instead.

And it stayed open long enough for the Mets joint to toast Pete Alonso again.

Alonso lined a screaming 116.9 mph home run over the Justworks sign in left field off southpaw Daniel Castano in the third inning Saturday to turn a 2-1 lead into 4-1, and all was right in Metsville again, at least for one night.

It ended Mets 8, Marlins 4, after Jeurys Familia had taken a walk on the wild side in relief of poised rookie winner David Peterson in the sixth inning, and you began to wonder whether Alonso might have to bash 53 homers again in this 60-game sprint, until J.D. Davis’ three-run jack in the seventh put the pesky Marlins away.

Dominic Smith led the dance party in the dugout after a giddy Alonso had finished circling bases. His teammates knew that Alonso had been searching, in the video room and everywhere, really, for himself.

Pete Alonso
Pete AlonsoRobert Sabo

“He’s been struggling, he’s been wanting to do so good,” Davis said.

A 116.9 mph rocket is so good.

“I’ve been in his ear, a lot of guys have been helping him out,” Davis said, “but he’s really slowed it down. He’s got back to his form from last year, you could see him start using his legs, really getting that big stride that he usually has where he can produce that power.”

So much had gone wrong in Metsville during an unsightly 5-9 start, not the least of which was a troubling power outage from Alonso that saw him carry into Saturday night only one home run in his 54 previous at-bats.

And so Mets fans who reveled in his rookie home run record-breaking season a year ago might have begun to ask each other while 6 feet or more apart:

“Where has our beloved Polar Bear Pete gone?”

It shouldn’t have been a big mystery.

Alonso had gone to that place known as Sophomore Slump, USA, that so many others know all too well.

Just because it was unrealistic for anyone to expect Alonso to pick up where he left off didn’t mean that Alonso wasn’t going to try, and it is human nature to try too hard.

And then factor in these variables:

The kid cares so much about the world around him that he launched his Homers for Heroes Foundation to honor everyday heroes of the pandemic.

Alonso is a self-starter, but there should be no doubt that he has missed the torrid love affair he enjoyed with Mets fans while setting the rookie HR record. No Cardboard Cutout Family Night can possibly fuel his fire.

That book that Alonso keeps on pitchers? Well now they have one on him.

Then there was the infamous Yoenis Cespedes opt-out, which left one less potential menace protecting him in what was going to be a lengthened lineup.

It couldn’t help that hitting coach Chili Davis has been working remotely in Arizona because of a pre-existing health condition.

Alonso wasn’t part of the postgame Zooms. But welcome back, Saint Pete.

“Pete’s starting to heat up a little bit, we know he’s gonna hit,” Michael Conforto, who hit his third homer in the win, said.

Pandemic or no pandemic, Alonso wasn’t going to sneak up on anyone this season. He will be better served if he learns how to relax, and not feel as though his team and his LFGM fan base are waiting for him to carry them over the final three quarters of the season. Even though, of course, they are.