He may have gotten a little pull-happy. Pete Alonso. They see how Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario and J.D. And to be a part of this, this is surreal.”. • Here's what happened in every HR Derby round. “The first round we got the jitters out,” Alonso said. “I think we figured it out after the first timeout in that first round. There were already expectations for Judge by the time he got to Spring Training in 2017, even if nobody had any idea he would hit 52 homers that year. “But I guess that's the hometown home cooking.”, • Alonso nearly hit a baseball right through our TV screens. He called his timeout with 1:49 remaining and just eight homers on the board, needing 11 more to match Acuna. There’s something about greatness. That set a higher bar for Alonso to clear than he had in the opening round, needing 20 to move on to face Guerrero in the finals. Then, he started hitting home runs in Florida ... and never stopped. Davis organized themselves around Alonso’s power. The Mets' slugger got to sit back and enjoy the show for a while as Guerrero and Pederson engaged in an epic semifinal showdown. “That was some of the best rounds of BP I've ever watched. There. “That could have possibly carried over into the next round. But just stayed positive and keep grinding and surviving.”. In so many ways, it was as good and emotional of a night as they had all season -- because Alonso hit another one out of sight. By Saturday night, with one game still left to play, Alonso -- the kid out of Plant High in Tampa, Fla. -- had beaten that mark by a dozen home runs. “I told him he doesn’t need to try and pull the ball,” McNeil said. But the narrative is different for him than it was with Judge. But no young guy I’ve ever seen has accepted the responsibilities of his stage and city better than Alonso has. He had earned 30 seconds of bonus time thanks to a pair of early shots that traveled 440 feet or farther, but the extra session wasn’t needed. Pete Alonso already made himself one of the great home run stories in baseball history before he broke Aaron Judge’s all-time rookie home run record with No. I got some time to kind of sit back and soak it all in and watch some guys hit some moonshots. On a team that has only talked about pitching over the past few seasons, the Mets now have the greatest single-season home run hitter in their history. That was special.”. Mets slugger defeats Vlad Jr. in finals to win $1 million grand prize, Polar Bear Pete! Again, he had already earned the 30 seconds of bonus time thanks to his prodigious power, but Alonso hit five homers over the final minute, crushing No. 53 on Saturday night at Citi Field against the Braves. The effects of all those swings showed early in Guerrero’s final round, as he struggled to get his bat going. Alonso hit eight homers before taking his first timeout at the 2:47 mark, ripping off 10 more blasts before using his second break with 1:02 remaining, pumping his arms to try revving up the crowd. Alonso outslugged Guerrero in a memorable final round, hitting 23 home runs to edge his fellow rookie by Pete Alonso already made himself one of the great home run stories in baseball history before he broke Aaron Judge’s all-time rookie home run record with No. It doesn’t change the fact that Alonso, the kid from Tampa, has walked with giants this year -- all the New York home run giants. It has really been such a great story, one I’ve been following the past couple of months through the eyes of his coach from Plant High, Dennis Braun -- who flew up this weekend and saw his protegee hit No. I called him after No. Alonso took home $1 million for winning the Derby, and he had pledged that he would donate 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Project and another 5% to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation if he emerged victorious. 53 on Saturday night. I don't know if we're ever going to see that again. But Alonso did. “Pretty emotional,” Braun said. “I was just kind of thinking about all the greats in the game of baseball,” Alonso said. He added another two in his bonus time, with his 22 homers giving him a ridiculous total of 91 for the night. We’ve gone over this before about Alonso: He’ll be National League Rookie of the Year, but he won’t be NL MVP. Willie Mays’ second-highest home run total, 51, happened in '55, when he was still a New York Giant at the Polo Grounds (he hit 52 homers 10 years later with the Giants in the Bay Area). When Alonso hit his record-setting, 415-foot shot, it left him with just eight fewer home runs than Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961 and seven fewer than Babe Ruth’s fabled 60. There’s still just something about greatness. “Everybody did such an amazing job just going out there and showing their stuff and showcasing young talent in the game,” Alonso said. For the second consecutive round, Alonso got off to a slow start, hitting four homers in the first minute and just three more by the halfway point. As he stepped to the plate, Alonso was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Cleveland crowd, which wanted to see Santana follow Bryce Harper as a hometown Derby winner. Pete Alonso capped off an amazing rookie campaign by passing Aaron Judge for most home runs by a rookie! It doesn't matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you're facing.”, “I got tired, but that’s not why I lost,” Guerrero said. Acuna hit 18 home runs in his four-minute semifinal round, tacking on one more during his 30-second bonus time. If you look at where Alonso was when he arrived in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and where he was on Saturday night -- throwing his arms into the air when he realized he’d hit No. That set up a showdown with Guerrero, who had already hit a total of 69 home runs in his first two rounds, establishing new Derby records each time. It's mind-blowing.". His 53rd broke the record. Alonso became the second rookie ever to win the event, joining Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who won in 2017. I think that was even better than the Josh Hamilton round, because both of them going back and forth, and clawing back the way that Joc did, he had his work cut out for him. The winner of the Home Run Derby really did turn his whole debut campaign into one. It was his second “walk-off” home run of the night, a 453-foot blast over the trees in center field. Record-setting rookie took New York -- and baseball -- by storm, Alonso biggest story in year of home run tales. Everyone went out there and put on a show. I asked him what it was like to see the record-breaker in person. “If I was not at the stadium, I would have cried. More than anyone they have -- and that includes Jacob deGrom, who might win his second straight NL Cy Young Award -- Alonso is the one who has Mets fans believing next season will be better than this one. No one knew how much game Alonso really had until he got to Spring Training. “Just stay middle. • Vlad-Joc Derby duel like 'Tyson-Holyfield'. “Not a bad way to see my first two Mets games,” Braun told me on Saturday night. Again, Alonso had accrued 30 seconds of bonus time, giving him 2:19 to hit those 11 homers. We talked about that. But a pair of well-timed breaks -- hitters get two timeouts in the finals -- helped Guerrero post another strong round, swatting 20 homers during his four minutes of regulation. Alonso outslugged Guerrero in a memorable final round, hitting 23 home runs to edge his fellow rookie by. “This is more than a dream,” Alonso said on Saturday night. Plant HS (Tampa, FL) School: University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) Yet when all was said and done, it was Pete Alonso raising the trophy. But the narrative is different for him than it was with Judge. We all know everything has gotten bigger in baseball, starting with the players. While Joc Pederson (21), Guerrero (29) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (25) all put on power displays to advance past the first round, Carlos Santana hit 13 home runs in his round, meaning Alonso could become the final player to advance to the semifinals without hitting even 15 homers. He hit more home runs than me and he won.”. CLEVELAND -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s prodigious power kept Progressive Field buzzing during Monday night’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby. “I was thinking about guys like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams -- guys like Aaron Judge -- and the fact that I'm ahead of those guys as a rookie. “There are no excuses. Double nickel. “I'm just happy that I didn't need the extra time, because that's extra swings,” Alonso said. 52 to tie Judge on Friday, then hit No. Alonso had his work cut out for him, but the Mets' rookie proved to be up to the challenge. Alonso is the most exciting kid the Mets have had since Dwight Gooden was a youngster striking out the world. When Alonso's homer total was in the mid-30s, Braun told me to call him when the kid got to 50. “I respect anyone who puts their life on the line every single day, going to work knowing that they may have to make the ultimate sacrifices,” Alonso said. But there hasn’t been a more valuable player in either league than he has been for the Mets. He created his own big expectations in the big city. Guerrero matched his own record from the first round with 29 more homers, but Pederson matched him, forcing a one-minute slug-off. So I'm happy that I was able to conserve as much energy throughout the event, and that was huge.”. “There are people that are making sacrifices every single day abroad keeping us free and then there are people at home keeping us safe.”. The only thing that will stop him now is running out of games. CLEVELAND -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s prodigious power kept Progressive Field buzzing during Monday night’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby. That was a hell of a shot. • Vlad Jr. sets records in stunning Derby display, “I couldn't imagine three rounds of that,” said Alex Bregman, who fell to Pederson, 21-16, in the first round. That ended in a tie, too, but Guerrero hit two homers during the second three-swing playoff, finally outlasting Pederson, 40-39.