It’s been one week since the fabled Home Run Horse first appeared in the Mets dugout, fitted with a backwards cap and an orange and blue warm-up jacket.
According to Pete Alonso, the horse is a byproduct of the Mets’ clubhouse camaraderie.
“I think it’s just the team having fun,” Alonso said on Friday before the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Reds at Citi Field. “I think having fun is a huge part of winning. Everyone’s gotta have something, I guess.”
Alonso wouldn’t commit to the potential longevity of the Home Run Horse, though the horse’s arrival has coincided with a power outburst on Alonso’s end. In nine games since the horse’s debut, Alonso has belted four home runs, continuing his post-Home Run Derby tear.
Hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum first came up with the idea of a Home Run Horse. He surprised his players by perching it at the end of the dugout before last Friday’s game.
“It just showed up one day,” Alonso said with a laugh. “(Hugh) thought it would be awesome. It was funny. When I showed up, I was like, ‘alright.’ ”
That sort of lighthearted behavior reflects the Mets lauded clubhouse chemistry, which has in part enabled them to withstand a barrage of injuries and remain atop the National League East since early May.
On Friday, Alonso extended the fun-loving attitude into the local Queens community, making an appearance at a Flushing park to surprise members of the Encarnacion Little League. He spent the early afternoon hitting ground balls, practicing infield drills and taking photos with the kids, and later donated baseball equipment to the league.
“I just want to be able to spread the love and appreciation I have for the city of New York,” Alonso said. “I love playing for the New York Mets and I’ve been treated so well, welcomed and embraced not just by Mets fans, but the entire city of New York. I just want to give back, to be able to impact future members of the community with kids, and to do it with the vessel of baseball, it’s really special.
“I remember being in their shoes. Any time I saw a big leaguer talk or he came by to spend time with us, it was really special. I just want to be able to do the same thing.”