We are officially at the halfway marker of the 2021 MLB Season! After an action-packed couple of weeks, let's take a look at your weekly Monday MLB Check-In, presented by House Enterprise.
Pete Alonso repeats as Home Run Derby champ
In the 2021 season, there has certainly been more buzz about the New York Mets than most recent years. In the past 10 months, the Amazin's acquired a generational shortstop in Francisco Lindor, cleaned house to start over with a new owner that has an appetite to spend, and beefed up a starting rotation that already had competed with the best in the league. Amidst all the noise, first baseman of the future Pete Alonso made sure he wasn't being drowned out; he crushed 35 homers in the first round (only behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s 40 and Joc Pederson's 39 in 2019) to cruise to the 2021 Derby Championship. This feat made Alonso only the third back-to-back winner in MLB history, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes in Derby royalty.
Rightfully so, Alonso had has share of glory on the big stage. "I think I'm the best power hitter on the planet," he said after his victory. Who knows, Pete...you could be right.
Mets beat by last-place Pirates on one of the best walk-off homer's you'll see, and follow it up on Sunday with this embarrassing gaffe
It didn't take long for the Mets to stumble after basking in Alonso's glory, though. The Amazin's had a tough time this weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who entered the All-Star break with baseball's worst record.
First came this soul-crushing walk-off on Saturday night; after being shut out most of the game, the Pirates put up a five-spot in the eighth inning to cut their deficit to 7-5. Edwin Diaz came in to close it out, but catcher Jacob Stallings took this first-pitch fastball to deep left to erase it all:
Somehow, this wasn't the most defeating moment of the Mets' weekend. On Sunday, they found themselves trailing 3-0 in the first inning. With the bases loaded, shortstop Kevin Newman may very well have earned himself the most important swinging bunt of his life:
Quite baffling how the Mets stood around and watched all the Pirates run the bases - 3 of them scoring - but how was their first instinct to argue?! I digress.
The Mets finally did win this game off Michael Conforto's clutch, two-out home run; thus saving what would have been a quite miserable weekend. And of course, we must show it to avoid the outcry of our Mets readers...
Fan throws baseball at Red Sox's Alex Verdugo, ejected from Yankee Stadium
There is no rivalry in sports quite like the Yankees & Red Sox; a deep-seated hatred for each other has certainly played out both in the stands and on the field. Every now and then, however, you'll get duds like this one; on Saturday night, a Yankees fan threw a baseball at unsuspecting Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo...and mayhem ensued.
Eventually, the fan was pointed out by Verdugo and the umpires. He was ejected from the stadium and presumably arrested, which was wholeheartedly endorsed by Yankees manager Aaron Boone..."I hope he's in jail," he remarked after the game.
It's an unfortunate reality; most rivalry games will have some sort of malice towards other fans, but when players start getting harmed while they're doing their job, the lines between playful banter and unacceptable behavior start to blur. Make no mistake: this fan should face the consequences.
Positivity Corner: Fernando Tatis, Manny Machado, and Wil Myers are heroes, usher scared fans from stadium after shooting outside Nationals Park
In an incredibly scary encounter on Saturday evening, at least 3 people were shot outside Nationals Park in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC. The shooting occurred during a Nationals-Padres game, and gunshots were even heard during the broadcast.
As Nationals manager Davey Martinez told reporters, "When a situation like that arises you try to follow protocol. But honestly, protocol is to get to safety and take care of your families and hope that everybody stays safe."
Padres sluggers Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Wil Myers took that call-to-action seriously during the mayhem after the shooting, and took to the stands to help families get to shelter.
It's always difficult to find positivity in these situations, but sometimes it shines through in tragedy. Machado, Tatis, and Myers are living proof.