Like everyone else, Alonso ready to put 2020 behind him

Mets slugger learns from his mistakes

Pete Alonso

Some might call Pete Alonso’s 2020 campaign a sophomore slump. Others would say it’s merely the product of a pandemic-warped season.

Everyone would agree 2020 was a strange year.

Whatever the case, the burly first baseman has put it behind him and he’s ready to embark on what he hopes will be a memorable 2021 campaign that begins Thursday, April 1, on ESPN, when his New York Mets visit the Washington Nationals.

Obviously, the man known as the “Polar Bear” set an impossibly high bar for himself in 2019, when he slammed a rookie record 53 home runs to win National League Rookie of the Year honors and finish seventh in MVP voting. So his diminished numbers the following year were viewed as something of a failure.

But that was in a 60-game schedule, one that is less forgiving to those prone to slow starts like Alonso’s. To his credit, he recovered from his .208 average with six homers and .700 OPS through the first 35 games to hit .265 with 10 homers and a .992 OPS in the last 22. Along the way, he learned from his mistakes, such as not pressing and swinging at bad pitches when the hits don’t come as he did early in 2020. Had he had a full 162-game slate to right himself, his numbers might have approached his 2019 totals.

He’ll certainly be relied on to bring the right-handed thunder in 2021 in a muscular though lefty-heavy Mets lineup that also includes Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo (as well as newly acquired All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor) as the Mets do battle with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and Nationals in an uber-competitive National League East.

Player Profile

Pete Alonso

Full name: Peter Morgan Alonso

Birth date: Dec. 7, 1994

Birthplace: Tampa, Fla.

Height/weight: 6 feet 4 inches/245 pounds

Teams: New York Mets (2019-present)

Position: First base

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 20

Honors and achievements: All-Star Futures Game (2018); MLB All-Star Game (2019); 2019 Home Run Derby champion; 2019 NL Rookie of the Year; 2019 MLB home run leader

Did you know: Alonso deactivated his social media accounts during the offseason, reasoning “I want to live in the real world.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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