The All-Star Issue: Not Jake But Pete

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

I have no issue with Jacob deGrom bypassing the All-Star game. As Mets manager Luis Rojas said, “Jake’s mindset is here. He just wants to be with his team and he wants to produce for his team.”

Yes, Jacob deGrom is all about his team and with his eyes on pitching his team deep into October. To me, that is the proper mindset. The three-time All-star realizes the significance of being an All-Star and opting to stay home.

MLB, of course, would prefer deGrom, the “best pitcher on the planet,” to be at their mid-summer classic and throw a pitch or two Tuesday evening in Colorado. Again, deGrom is doing what’s best for his team. I have no issue with that mindset as much as the baseball universe would prefer to see Jake on the mound as an All-Star.

Then there is this showcase of a Home Run Derby and Pete Alonso. The mindset of participating and defending his 2019 Home Run Derby title is absurd.

Then again, the best wishes of MLB does look better because their defending champion is highlighted and looking to become a consecutive king of hitting the home run ball.

Except, Alonso is not on a pace to hit 50 or more home runs as he did during his rookie and record breaking 2019 season. At this pace, he finishes with 30 home runs as he has a team leading 15 right now. And there has been no evidence of consistency with the Pete Alonso home run ball that was a part of that rookie year.

No knock on Pete. At any juncture he could go on that consistent home run tear, but his production in the Mets’ lineup is needed for a team that is next to last in the National League in runs scored.

But there are those inconsistent at bats from Alonso and chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone. Perhaps, as I have heard many times, the home run swing is disrupted after taking too many swings during a showcase that is a fan favorite and prime time televised event.

So much different from the mindset of deGrom. Instead, another Home Run Derby title for Pete Alonso does appear to be more significant and chances of that happening are minimal and you can take that to the bank.

I have nothing against Pete Alonso. Great teammate, terrific personality, friendly to the media, and he is that impact player in the lineup. And it is always nice to see that representation of New York All-Stars from both sides of town.

However, this is all about Alonso and not the New York Mets. Different from deGrom, who would rather stay home and focus on staying strong with a mindset of leading the Mets to a division title and perhaps more in October.

Instead, Alonso says it’s the right thing to defend a title that is meaningless as compared to being a run producer for his team that needs production with his bat in the lineup.

As far as his chances of defending that title, I would not place my bets on Alonso advancing in the first round. His bracket includes AL home run leader Shohei Ohtani and Salvador Perez of the Royals who leads all catchers with 20 home runs.

So there is a definite contrast in the mindsets of deGrom and Alonso.

“I just had a blast and it’s a really special moment and as long as I have an opportunity I want to do it,” Alonso said. “It’s something I dreamed about as a kid and being there on the field, and being able to compete in what was a dream come true.”

He said he wanted to do it again and win the title a second time. Except, this is not predetermined like a match is staged in the WWE. This is about adjusting the swing and becoming that impact and constant threat in the Mets lineup.

Jacob deGrom has become that constant and consistent ace for the Mets. Not the same for Pete Alonso in 2021. Good luck Pete, but it would have been in your best interests to stay home and focus on being that impact bat in the lineup for the New York Mets.

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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