ATLANTA – Imagine if the Mets reported to SunTrust Park Friday afternoon and welcomed by Pete Alonso, just recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, while wishing him a good luck in his major league debut.
Would you take that scenario in return for Alonso not reaching a free agency until after the 2025 season?
Did not think so.
As if to save his best for last in this bonus period, to reward the Mets one last time for doing the right thing, the rookie slugger made his loudest statement yet here on Thursday night. Alonso's team-leading sixth homer ensured that the Mets would prevail 6-3 in their first game of the season against Braves and placed his team (8-4) alone atop the ultra-competitive National League East.
And what a homer it was The two-run, seventh-inning laser off Braves reliever Jonny Venters traveled low and carried until it splashed into the pond well behind the center-field wall. Statcast measured it at a towering 454 feet, and more impressive, the exit velocity of 1
"I gotta do a couple more push-ups," Alonso quipped, before adding, "That's really cool. "
Laughter has penetrated the Mets' clubhouse, as they kicked off this extremely important 10-game road swing – four here versus defending division champs, three in Philadelphia with Bryce Harper's Phillies and three in St. Louis against the perennially contending Cardinals – with a nice victory. Amed Rosario drove home the Mets' first four runs, cranking a three-run homer in the second and adding an RBI single in the sixth, and Steven Matz threw six strong innings for his first win of the season, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out eight.
And with the Mets' bullpen continuing its heart rate-increasing ways, allowing a total of seven base runners (if only one run) over three innings, Alonso's blast provided some highly-appreciated insurance in a fascinating package. 19659002] "Most of the time our jaws are dropped and we're going, Wow," "Mickey Callaway said of his rookie's routine power displays, each of Alonso's homers a notable work of art. "You do not see stuff like this. It's a line drive and it goes in the fountain where you see a splash. That's crazy. I do not know if it went through the wall and went into the fountain or just snuck over and hit the water.
"But he does something special every night, and I think we talked about it in spring training. When he's at the plate, you feel like something's going to happen. And something usually does. "
" When you kind of hit a ball like that, you do not even feel it, "Alonso said. "You get this weird sensation. I can not even explain it. You do not feel the ball off your bat. You just hear the sound and it just goes. "
It was, Alonso said," Definitely the hardest ball I've hit in my life, "and it further validated the decision pushed by the new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen – who watched the game with his advisor Jessica Mendoza of ESPN – and allowed by ownership. Because Alonso started the season with the big-league club, he stands on track to be a free agent after 2024. And, in what looks like a fair trade-off, the 2019 Mets is in a far better position thanks to the extra 15 days of Alonso's presence.
"I'm really thankful," Alonso said. "I'm so happy to be here. I've just been so appreciative of everything. Everyone's been fantastic. We've got great guys in the locker room. In this atmosphere, every single night is just a blessing. I'm just trying to make the most of this opportunity. "
If he makes any more of the opportunity, Braves might have called up a maintenance team.