MLB Celebrates NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso's Win with Ad Filmed in His Childhood Bedroom
The ad uses actual home video footage of the slugger, something his mom says was "extremely emotional" for her to track down
New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso has been crowned the National League Rookie of the Year — and Major League Baseball is celebrating the achievement with a blast from the past.
MLB honored the new King of Queens with a minute-long ad featuring highlights from his breakout rookie season, as well as the inspiring, life-defining moments that got him there.
The clip includes home videos provided by Alonso’s parents, plus flashbacks from his college and childhood years, in which he’s portrayed by an actor in his actual childhood bedroom in Florida — something mom Michelle Alonso says was certainly surreal.
“They had this little monitor set up in the kitchen and we could see everything that they were doing, and I’m looking at it,” she tells PEOPLE. “My husband, who was here at the time, too, we’re looking at it like, ‘This is so weird.’ That was so strange.”
To capture the essence of 8-year-old Alonso’s room, the team at MLB recreated posters hanging on the wall — including a large team logo poster, on which a young Alonso famously wrote in Sharpie, “This is where I want to be” in the center.
That moment, as well as another in which the athlete, 24, is given a C on a University of Florida college paper for being “unrealistic” after he wrote that his plan in life was to become a baseball player, are also reimagined in the clip.
Alonso’s mother — who says mining her son’s life for the ad was “extremely emotional” — remembers the bad grade well, recalling the moment he called her, upset, over his professor’s words.
“He was so upset. He wasn’t calling for advice, he was calling because he was upset the professor gave him feedback that it wasn’t realistic, that he needed to take baseball out of it,” she recalls. “I interjected myself and gave him unsolicited advice and I said regretfully now, I said, ‘Pete, just write to your audience. If you don’t change it, she told you she’s gonna give you a C. Don’t kill your GPA because of this.’ [And he said] ‘No mom, that’s not right, I’m not going to do it.’ ”
It’s that headstrong attitude, as well as a giddy, childlike enthusiasm for the game of baseball, that have made Alonso a fan favorite in New York City, where he won the All-Star Home Run Derby in July and set the record for most home runs hit by a rookie, with 53, in September.
The first baseman — who fans have nicknamed “Polar Bear” — even had custom first responder-themed cleats created for the entire Mets team on Sept. 11, after they were barred by MLB from wearing first responder hats on the anniversary of the terror attack.
“The whole time I’m the worried mother thinking, ‘Oh dear lord, please don’t let him get fined,’” she says. “That defines Peter. That so encapsulates so many things that he’s done throughout his whole life, where he does things, he follows his heart [knowing] he may break some rules in doing so.”
Alonso beat out fellow baseball stars like Mike Soroka and Fernando Tatis Jr. for the NL Rookie of the Year honor, which is voted on each year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
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