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As wild-card race heats up, you gotta believe … in Pete Alonso

In his rookie season for the record books, Pete Alonso is tied with the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez for the major league lead with 47 home runs, shattering the New York Mets’ team record of 41, and he has a chance to break Aaron Judge’s rookie mark of 52. He ranks in the top 10 in the majors in RBIs and second with nine home runs in “late and close” situations, has the third hardest-hit ball of the season at 118.3 mph, has hit better against winning teams (.987 OPS) than losing teams (.871 OPS) and has even survived getting hit by 20 pitches.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In a Mets season typically full of injuries and various soap opera subplots, Alonso has been the constant: He’s been mashing all year long.

Those are just the numbers. Alonso’s impact for the Mets goes beyond the home runs hit and the runs driven in. Mets broadcaster Ron Darling put it perfectly the other day in describing how Alonso has become the face of the franchise: “Some people come to New York and play for the New York baseball team, and some become New Yorkers.”5

Alonso has not only successfully navigated major league pitching, but he’s successfully navigated New York like few players before him. That’s not an easy task. I don’t always completely buy into the “It’s tougher to play in New York (or Boston) than other cities,” but there’s something to the mantra. There’s more media and a portion of that media can be unrelentingly critical even when things are going right. The fans are passionate, but also quick to turn on you when things go wrong.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Like Mike Piazza, however, Alonso simply has that “it” factor, that larger-than-life personality. He has embraced New York and Mets fans have embraced him. Yes, 47 home runs goes a long way to winning over the fans, but what’s not to love?

If there’s one area of improvement for Alonso, it’s cutting down on his chase rate. At 31%, he’s above the league average of 28.8%. As he sees a steady of diet of sliders and curveballs, he should learn to lay off some of those pitches and either see a higher walk rate or see more fastballs that he might pummel.

For now, it’s about getting into one final hot streak these last two weeks. The Mets have a tough path to the wild card, but if anyone can carry them to the postseason, it’s the big kid with the big heart and the big swing.