We must be getting to baseball season because Yankees fans are going out of their way to tell everyone Aaron Judge is better than Pete Alonso. Clearly, you can see Alonso winning the Home Run Derby and breaking Judge’s rookie home run record is bothering that fan base. As we have seen, they do not like sharing the spotlight.
We’ve seen them talk about how there was a juiced ball last year, which there was. Of note, there was also a juiced ball in Judge’s rookie year of 2017. Of course, 2017 was also the year the Yankees were fined for sign stealing, and they’re fighting tooth and nail to keep what they’ve done secret.
Aside from all that, Alonso broke Judge’s record, and that doesn’t sit well with some Yankees fans. It also apparently doesn’t sit well with them how Alonso is grabbing all of the attention as well he should.
In addition, to setting the rookie home run record, he’s shown himself to be a great person. Instead of starting off on the wrong foot with Dominic Smith, a player he was purportedly battling with for the first base job, he reached out to Smith, and the two became good friend. Really, anyone who has ever played with Alonso will tell you he’s a great teammate.
When Alonso won the Home Run Derby, he donated $50,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project and $50,000 to Tunnel to Towers. Later in the season, when MLB again refused to allow Mets players to wear the caps, Alonso, on his own accord, got first responder cleats for his teammates.
Because of all of this, and what the future holds, Mets fans rightfully adore Alonso. It’s the same thing with Yankees fans, they rightfully adore Judge.
Here’s the thing. Judge is a better baseball player. Alonso had a 5.2 WAR last year. In his three full seasons, Judge has not posted lower than a 5.5 WAR.
Notably, that 5.5 WAR was last year as injuries would limit Judge to just 102 games. That’s after a year he had a 5.7 WAR after injuries limited him to 112 games. Putting up WAR to that level in those few games is an astonishing feat. Make no mistake, Judge is a truly great player.
He’s also an increasingly injured one. In 2018, he was hit by a pitch and missed time with a broken wrist. In 2019, he missed time with an oblique strain. If the 2020 season had started on time, there’s a legitimate question whether he’d been playing right now as he’s been dealing with a stress fracture in his ribs. In fact, it’s still not clear whether he’ll be ready for this new Opening Day.
Instead of Yankees fans comparing Alonso to Judge, they should really be concerned about whether Judge can play again. The Yankees will certainly need him in this shortened season which will feature far too many AL/NL East matchups.
When and if Judge plays, and if he’s at full health, he will likely be better than Alonso. Still, Alonso should put up the better numbers as he’ll be fully healthy and ready to go from Opening Day. If both are healthy and ready Opening Day, it may be fun to watch them battle all season long.
No matter what the result one thing needs to be perfectly clear. Even if Judge is far better than Alonso, he will still fall well short of being the best baseball player in New York. That honor goes to Jacob deGrom, and in those comparisons just like in 31.6% of his plate appearances, Judge strikes out.
This is exactly the type of game we have come to expect with Jacob deGrom on the mound. He shut out the Giants for eight innings while allowing just one hit and striking out 11 batters. While deGrom was shutting down the Giants offense, the Mets couldn’t really muster any run support for their ace.
Finally, in the seventh, Brandon Nimmo hit a two run homer to give the Mets a lead. In the eighth, Pete Alonso hit a homer of his own to increase the Mets lead to 3-0. That would be the final score after Edwin Diaz recorded the save.
After the first two rounds, the Sweet 16 in each of the four brackets is set, and there are going to be some fun and difficult match-ups. So far, all of those who have had their numbers retired and have been captains in team history have survived.
In the Miracle Bracket, Tom Seaver should be expected to advance. To secure a spot in the Final Four, he is going to have to face the winner of Jerry Koosman/Cleon Jones, which has Mets fans deciding which of the somewhat unlikely heroes of 1969 (and 1973) should advance.
The Amazin Bracket kicks off with a battle between the first two captains in team history – Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. As if deciding between them isn’t tough enough, fans have to decide whether they love Dwight Gooden or Darryl Strawberry more.
The Mojo Rising Bracket only has members of the 1999 Mets remaining, which is appropriate given how the region was named after that team. The first match-up is between the helmeted ones in the catcher Mike Piazza and the first baseman John Olerud. Then, it is a match-up between Al Leiter and Edgardo Alfonzo, who were the heros of the play-in game against the Reds.
Finally, in the Citi Bracket, we have two Cinderella runs from Wilmer Flores and Pete Alonso. Flores faces David Wright in a match-up of the emotional stories from the 2015 season. With Alonso, he squares off against Jacob deGrom to see which current Mets player fans adore more.
Voting begins tomorrow with Seaver and Ed Kranepool.
Rick Porcello and Dereck Rodriguez had a pitcher’s duel, and for a moment it looked like Robinson Cano‘s first inning RBI single scoring Michael Conforto was going to be all the runs the Mets would score.
For a while that was enough, at least until Dellin Betances allowed a two run homer to Mike Yastrzemski in the eighth. However, the Mets would not lose as Pete Alonso homered off Reyes Moronta with two outs in the ninth.
That lead grew to 5-2 when on the very next pitch Conforto would homer. That would be the final score with Edwin Diaz recording the save.
(3) Carlos Beltran – Mentored David Wright and Jose Reyes from day one. By WAR, had the second best ever season a Mets player ever had in 2006. Tied then season season record for homers and extra base hits. Set team record for runs scored in a season. Hit three homers in NLCS against Cardinals helping Mets get to Game 7 before that final at-bat. Hit last ever homer for Mets player at Shea Stadium. Had great catch on Tal’s Hill. Was a five time All-Star and three time Gold Glove winner with Mets. Stood up to Wilpons and got surgery he needed to save career. Willingly moved to right field to help team. Played at Hall of Fame level and could one day be next player inducted into Hall of Fame and possibly have number retired by team.
(11) Pete Alonso – Had rookie season so great people are already envisioning him as the next captain of the Mets. Near unanimous NL Rookie of the Year. Set Mets and MLB rookie record for homers. Also set Mets single-season record for total bases and extra base hits. Won the 2019 Home Run Derby and provided portion of winnings to charity. When MLB once again denied the Mets request to wear the first resopnders’ caps, he took it upon himself to get cleats honoring the first responders.
When Pete Alonso hit the first of his two homers in the first, the Mets pitchers had all the run support they needed in this 11-0 route.
The big blow was a Willson Contreras three run homer in the fourth which gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead. That lead wouldn’t last long as the Mets tied it in the sixth.
The Mets had the bases loaded with no outs. Yoenis Cespedes drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Wilson Ramos tied the score with an RBI single putting runners at the corners with one out. Dominic Smith hit what could’ve been a go-ahead sacrifice fly, but the Cubs nailed Alonso at the plate.
For deGrom, he was his typical great day game self striking out 12 Nationals over seven innings. He’d pick up the win even after allowing three runs.
Scherzer wasn’t Mad Max allowing six runs in just four innings. The Mets really went on the attack against him and the Nationals bullpen in this 8-3 victory.
At one point, Major League Baseball moved itself away from the sport of Cap Anson to the sport of Jackie Robinson. With that breaking of the color barrier, MLB would see some of the greatest and most exciting players join the league to bring the game to an even higher level.
Despite MLB being the league to break the color barrier, the numbers of black players in the majors continue to dwindle. According to Forbes, only 7.7% of MLB players were black, and there were 11 teams without a black player.
MLB is not ignorant of the issue. Rather, the league of Jackie Robinson seems upset by these dwindling numbers, and they’ve sought to institute programs like the RBI program to help get more black players to play the game.
At this point, it seems like MLB is paying lip service to this. One reason why is no matter how much they say they want more black players, the numbers keep dwindling. This just shows what they’re doing isn’t working, and we’re not seeing them pivot to other plans which may work better.
Another reason why is the current state of this country after George Floyd’s death. There have been several actions and statements about it from both people and businesses. That includes the NFL and NBA:
— NFL (@NFL) May 30, 2020
Tonight at 7:00 PM ET on @NBA – #NBATogether with Ernie Johnson (@TurnerSportsEJ) continues as Lloyd Pierce, @SwinCash, David Griffin (@dg_riff), and Alvin Gentry discuss racism, police brutality, and our shared responsibility to drive change. #NBAVoices pic.twitter.com/PejW2HF2XT
— NBA (@NBA) June 1, 2020
Somehow, those statements have not included MLB.
Yes, there are players like Marcus Stroman and Pete Alonso who have offered statements. There have been individual teams who have released statements. But, MLB as an organization, led by Commissioner Rob Manfred, has been silent.
Perhaps, next time MLB publicly wrings their hands on why they can’t get black people interested in baseball, we can all point to this moment. We can say MLB was absent and silent at a pivotal time, and that silence delivers a very real message. It should also make you wonder just how much MLB really cares about black participation rates in the sport.