Pete Alonso has no sympathy for the cardboard cutouts atop the Green Monster at Fenway Park, where his first home run of the season — “an absolute bullet,” as teammate Dominic Smith called it — ricocheted on Monday before dropping back onto the field in the Mets’ 7-4 win over the Red Sox. After finishing with a Major League rookie record 53 homers last season, Alonso had waited 10 months to hit another. To him, it felt like an eternity.
To him, the cardboard cutouts should have seen it coming.
“There is an advisory throughout the ballpark,” Alonso said. “You have to be aware of flying baseballs and bats.”
If Alonso keeps providing the former over the coming weeks, then the Mets’ offense — all but dormant over the first three games of the season — won’t have much reason to fret. Leaving his bat at 116.3 mph, Alonso’s two-run home run highlighted a Mets attack that also included homers from Michael Conforto and Smith.
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 28, 2020
“He did it all year last year,” Smith said. “But to see him get into a ball like that, I’m extremely happy for him. I know he was happy to do that.”
Like many who watched the Mets’ season-opening series against the Braves, manager Luis Rojas noticed that Alonso was not quite himself. Throughout Spring Training and Summer Camp, Alonso routinely chased pitches outside the strike zone — the type of thing he did so rarely throughout his historic rookie season in 2019. Rojas noted that Alonso was guilty of some similar chases against the Braves, starting his swing a tick late as his stride grew a bit too long at the plate.
In making such observations, Rojas did not worry. To the contrary, he noticed two other things that made him believe the problem would be temporary: a curiosity from Alonso about what he was doing wrong, as well as a willingness to fix it.
“When somebody is under control with his emotions and is able to hear his coaches around him, he can make quick adjustments,” Rojas said on Monday afternoon. “That’s what we’re expecting now.”