Pete Alonso turns every day into a party
Every group needs one: the friend who is a party unto themselves, who supplies the energy and attitude every night. There's not a situation so dark that they can't bring people's spirits up, no night of Netflix so dull that it can't end in a potentially ill-advised tattoo at 4 a.m.
The Mets aren't exactly the most easygoing franchise in sports, what with the bad luck and the ninth-inning meltdowns and the superstars getting injured in remarkably bizarre ways and the straight-up curses and all. But even the Metsiest season to ever Mets hasn't been able to dampen spirits at Citi Field -- because New York has Pete Alonso, the man with the party-ready nickname who cannot be kept down.
Rookies are supposed to keep to themselves. They are the out-of-sight players, meant to absorb the ways of the Major Leagues and pay deference to the veterans that came before. But that's not Alonso's style. He showed up on the first day of class ready to chew gum, kick ass and throw the kegger when his parents are away.
Sure, he hits homers. In fact, he's hit more homers than any other National League rookie in history, and he's set the Mets single-season homer record, too. That obviously helps his case -- home runs are like those little confetti cannons that kids pull during parades. With one swing, everyone is on their feet, the music is blaring and people are dancing.
But it's his attitude that truly sets him apart. When he won the Home Run Derby in Cleveland, he launched his bat high into the air and grabbed his pitcher and held him mid-air. This was a party, one that you definitely didn't need to RSVP on the e-vite to:
This is some big kid energy -- someone incapable of not having serious fun, even with thousands of people watching him and the hopes of a tortured franchise on his back. This is a man whose infectious joy is automatic. How else can you describe how his NSFW rallying cry of "LFGM!" not only became an online sensation, but managed to get his teammates -- players we'd never seen act like this before -- in on the action, too?
After wins, the traditional walk-off celebration isn't enough. Alonso will chase players around, ripping their shirt apart and leaving them running across the field half-nude.
Mets wins aren't baseball games; they're the college parties that only exist in movies, with photos capturing everyone as if they were in the middle of shouting some Journey song:
He's the crazy older guy giving players piggy back rides ... except that he's younger than most of the team:
And this weekend, when Alonso won a crucial game against the hated Phillies, he tore his own shirt off and reveled in the glory of an ice bath on the field. He didn't even bother to get dressed for the eventual interview. Because why bother?
His fun is infectious, and it has swept through the clubhouse. Even in a year that has at times teetered toward melodrama for the Mets, Alonso has kept the spirits high and the party going. Should the Mets find their way into the postseason, I can't even imagine what the celebration would look like.
Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.