Pete Alonso’s desire to bring back the iconic Mets’ black jerseys goes deeper than just a fashion statement.
“I really do hope that we get them, because I think that it’d be exciting not just to have a different jersey, but we gotta make it a thing: Friday Night Blackouts,” Alonso said. “I’m just picturing in my mind everybody in the stadium with a blacked-out jersey. I think it’d be so intimidating, a sea of black shirts out there in the outfield, with music banging out of the speakers, lights going.”
If Alonso’s vision for Friday nights in Flushing fails to convince even the strongest black-jersey disapprover (looking at you, Howie Rose) that the classic uniforms will look good and get fans hyped to sit their butts in Citi Field seats again, nothing will.
“I think that it would bring a lot of swagger and a lot of moxie,” Alonso said. “Oh man, I just have this vision. I can’t necessarily explain it all, but I think it would bring a lot of excitement. I know the black jerseys are very polarizing, but I don’t know why. I think they look awesome. I think they’re great.”
The Mets’ black jerseys haven’t been in use for several years now, but they’re undeniably hard to forget.
“For me, when I grew up and people that grew up around my age, they used to watch Al Leiter, John Franco, Mike Piazza,” Alonso said. “David Wright played in black jerseys. You had Jose Reyes back in the day, vintage. You had so many of those great Mets that wore those black jerseys, and I feel like that’s so iconic.”
Michael Conforto also recently voiced his support for the black jerseys, though he noted the logistics of their return could be tricky. Mets owner Steve Cohen may have to go through hoops like licensing deals and a myriad of approvals before they make their official comeback.
But, at this point, it would be surprising if other Mets players didn’t agree with Alonso.
“Bring that swagger,” he said. “Bring that swagger back.”
Dellin Betances threw his first live batting practice Friday, which he said earlier this week would be a big test for all the offseason he put in. He faced Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Jonathan Villar and none of the three batters received too many hittable pitches from Betances. Alonso, in particular, was fooled by a couple of his fastballs, which Betances said reached the low 90s.
“I thought his fastball was jumping real well and he said he was trying to manipulate his slider a little bit,” Alonso said. “There were a couple where I blinked my eyes and I didn’t even see it, and I was just like, ‘Damn, that’s nasty. There’s no way I’m touching that.’”
Mets manager Luis Rojas said Betances’ low 90s velocity is “very encouraging” because it’s an improvement from where the reliever was topping out at camp last year. Betances is known for ramping up his velocity in spring training once he starts gaining adrenaline and facing other uniforms, so the skipper has high confidence that he can be ready and dominant by opening day.
Alex Cohen, Steve Cohen’s wife who has a minority ownership stake in the Mets, joined spring camp on Friday to announce the rebranded launch of the Amazin’ Mets Foundation.
The Amazin’ Mets Foundation will inspire change and make a lasting impact, the team announced, by providing needed services and opportunities to children, families, and under-served groups in neighborhoods and communities near Citi Field.
“Our mission is simple: to be a champion, you need to stand for something,” said Alex Cohen in a statement provided by the Mets. “It’s beyond the words of the mission. It’s about the work we will do. We’re committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by creating awareness, offering guidance, and leading by example to show the world what giving can do.”
She posed for photos in left field at Clover Park alongside Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco (who finally joined camp on Friday after missing a week-plus due to undisclosed, non-injury related reasons).