Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Pete Alonso, in his short time with the New York Mets, has blazed his own trail. This trail has included him beating out Dom Smith for the first base job and proceeding to become friends with him, battling beat writers online in defense of his teammate Jeff McNeil, capturing the Mets single season home run record in his first season with the team, winning the Home Run Derby, and most recently, outfitting his entire team with cleats commemorating the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The best part about the cleat outfitting? Alonso did not ask the permission of the MLB to wear these cleats, he simply did it on his own. Alonso knew that the MLB has a strict policy when it comes to uniforms, and they had already denied his request to wear the hats of the FDNY and NYPD. Being the leader that he is, Alonso went out of his way to not only defy the MLB, but also to unite his team for a good cause. Earlier in the season, I wrote about how the Mets should offer team-friendly contract extensions to the likes of Alonso and McNeil, which is something I still stand by. However, along with his extension, Alonso should also receive the “C” on his jersey as captain of the team.
It is a move that that would not face much opposition. The only one upset about it would be Chris Paddack. Looking at what Alonso has done this season, both on and off the field, is nothing short of spectacular. There are of course the home runs that Alonso has mesmerized fans with this season. His MLB-leading 47 home runs have been the one consistent thing this season that has brought Mets fans to Citi Field this season. After all, it has been one of the weirdest Mets seasons ever, with them faltering in and out of playoff contention. Alonso has been holding himself accountable all season, and has been the one Met that could be responsible for driving ticket sales.
When he called for fans to show up to an important homestand, they showed up in droves. The way that fans have rallied around Alonso and the team has not only served to make Washington Nationals players envious, but also to bring an excitement to Citi Field that hasn’t been seen since Yoenis Cespedes went on his 2015 tear.
More importantly, Alonso has been a leader on the team. On a squad that is so rich in pitching talent, Alonso has figured out a way to be the man reporters turn to after games. His presence is such like a veteran’s, that the conversation of Rookie of the Year for Alonso is already far gone. He has had it in the bag since the middle of the summer, anyway. In a captain, you look for a player that has his head on his shoulders, and eyes on the lookout for his teammates. In recent times, there has not been a Met more supportive on the field of his teammates than Alonso. It is not uncommon to see Alonso approach a teammate after they commit an error or have a bad inning on the mound to offer encouragement. Alonso understands what it means to be a New Yorker, and a fantastic teammate. He is young, but has already become the face of this team. Alonso is ready to be the captain of the Mets.