Pete Alonso is having one of the most memorable individual seasons in Mets' history, but on Wednesday night, Alonso did something perhaps even more special.
Many of the Mets were seen taking the field on Wednesday night against the D-backs wearing custom cleats that honored those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001, including the first responders.
All of this was orchestrated by the Mets' rookie, who came up with the idea for the team to honor 9/11 victims on the tragedy's 18th anniversary. Though he initially wanted to create custom hats, he pivoted to cleats to avoid what he called "red tape" from Major League Baseball.
"He wanted to do something to show his respect for the victims and for their memory, so he went around, starting in Philadelphia, got all of his teammates cleat sizes and had these custom ordered and custom made," Steve Gelbs said during the broadcast.
"For me, I just come from a place where I want to show support, not just for the victims but their families as well, because no one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be," Alonso said after the game. "Living here, just kind if interacting with everybody, I've tried to immerse myself in New York living, and I see traces of it every single day, little bits and pieces of it. I just want to show recognition to all the people who are just heroes, just ordinary people who just felt a sense of urgency and an admirable call of duty. So this is for all of those people who lost their lives and all of those people who did so much to help."
Alonso has already set a Mets' single-season record with 47 home runs, and Aaron Judge's all-time rookie home run record of 52 is within reach, but in a season in which Alonso has accomplished so much on the field, he's also proven himself a leader off of the field, and he's endeared himself to the city of New York time and time again.
Pete Alonso orchestrated the Mets' wearing of commemorative 9/11-themed cleats tonight.- Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 12, 2019
He planned it for weeks, ordered & paid for everybody's shoes and enlisted other clubhouse leaders (including Jacob deGrom) to get everyone on board. pic.twitter.com/fiJbYCU8mq
When the events of September 11th occurred in New York, Alonso was a first grader in Tampa, Fla. And while he may not be a native New Yorker, he's already established a clear connection with the city he now calls home.
"I've just been really thankful and gracious for this opportunity. This season has been an absolute fantasy for me. I just want to give back. I want to help," said Alonso. "I don't just want to be known as a good baseball player. Hopefully, I want to be known as a good person too. I just want to recognize, really, what this day is about. … It's an awful day, but in order to kind of grow and move on as a country and especially here as a city in New York - it's not just a New York thing, it's a United States thing."
The Mets finished the game with 9 runs on 11 hits, a shutout win over the D-backs, and Alonso was proud of how his teammates supported his efforts.
"It was just a little gift from me to my teammates. I'm really happy that everyone wore the shoes, because we could have gotten fined for it," Alonso said. "I'm really just happy that everyone was behind me and stuck with this.
"You don't have to be a baseball fan, I hope the general population appreciates this."