Pete Alonso may be the happiest person in the world
Baseball players are a confident bunch. And they have to be -- you're not going to get to this level without playing like you're better than everybody else. Tapping into that drive, a competitive fire that guides you in the day-to-day as you try to make a name for yourself in the game is crucial if you're going to become a star.
Mets rookie slugger and one-man party Pete Alonso has that fire, and the 24-year-old launched himself into the history books on Friday night. By cracking his 52nd homer of the year, Alonso tied crosstown slugger Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who'd set the all-time rookie record for home runs in 2017.
Alonso's trot around the bases showcased perhaps the happiest man in baseball -- no, the happiest man in the entire world right now.
This is pure joy:
Literally grinning, ear-to-ear, as he rounds the bases.
If you're not smiling after seeing that, you must not be capable of feeling emotion. Because this is emotion of the purest type: The exuberance of a man who knows he's living an impossible dream.
Sure, the Mets' midsummer surge didn't lead them back to the postseason. There will be plenty of time for that next season and beyond. But Alonso coming out of nowhere to win the Home Run Derby become the type of superstar who inspires hip-hop legends to wear his jerseys onstage? That's magic. That's what every kid playing in Little League imagines for themselves.
And, as Alonso said after Friday's game, he did feel like a Little Leaguer during that blissful jog around the bases, which explains why he was practically giggling as he rounded the bags:
Pete Alonso says he felt like a Little Leaguer rounding the bases after his record-tying homer.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 28, 2019
This is an interview with a happy, happy dude: pic.twitter.com/NYyHG8Kz5m
Here's a guy who's done hundreds of interviews over the past few months, standing here incapable of saying much other than the word "unbelievable" to describe what he's experienced in his first season as a star.
He's been rendered speechless ... by himself. He even has a hard time rationalizing his own excellence:
Pete Alonso on contemplating his place in baseball history: "When I think of guys in baseball history, I think of old-timey guys — Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds. Jeez. To think as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy."— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 28, 2019
And he's standing there smiling the entire time, in complete awe of himself.
I'm honestly not sure if he's ever not smiling, come to think of it.
See? Smiling, bouncing around like a caffeinated kid on a pogo stick.
His energy boundless, his homers prodigious, his attitude infectious.
He's Pete Alonso, and he's probably smiling somewhere right this very minute.
Adrian Garro joined MLB.com in 2016. Throughout his travels, both Bartolo Colon and Vin Scully have placed their hands on his shoulders. Not at the same time, though. That'd be amazing.