Pete Alonso takes a break from destroying balls to destroy bat in frustration

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor

Pete Alonso is in a funk. Since the All-Star break, he is just 4-for-33 with 14 strikeouts, and he’s quickly growing frustrated.

The rookie first baseman reached a breaking point on Sunday — literally — when Conner Menez struck him out in the third inning, and he snapped the bat over his knee.

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Alonso is known for his power with 33 home runs on the season, and he put that brute strength on display after the strikeout. One of the great Beefy Dinger Men of 2019, Alonso made that 32-ounce bat look like it was twig.

That approach seemed to pay off too because he worked a pair of walks in his next two plate appearances, the first on four pitches. Maybe he has an above-average eye at the plate and didn’t get a pitch to hit. Maybe the San Francisco Giants pitchers thought they wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Who’s to say?

“I was just upset because I shouldn’t have swung at that pitch, it was a ball,” Alonso said after the game. “Yeah, that’s just the frustration of that at-bat. I know I’m better than that, I hold myself to a high standard and was just frustrated.”

Alonso isn’t even the only athlete to break something in frustration on Sunday. At the Open Championship, Henrik Stenson shanked a shot on the 17th hole and broke his iron in frustration. Stenson had started the day at six-under par but ended poorly with a five-over day.

Is Alonso the latest victim of the Home Run Derby curse?

Alonso has been one of the best stories of the season. All he does is hit bombs. Even when he’s mired in a slump, three of his four hits have still been home runs.

His hot start earned him a spot in the Home Run Derby, where he topped fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in with a dramatic walk-off bomb that included a bat flip to match. But now that he’s slowing down, some are asking if he’s the latest victim of the Home Run Derby Curse.

The short answer? Alonso may well be scuffling, but the derby is not to blame. The so-called curse has long been debunked as a myth, despite what some old-school talking heads might have you think.

The easiest explanation for why sluggers tend to fall off after participating in the derby is simple regression to the mean. They earned a spot because of a great start that may have been above their normal playing level, so chances are they won’t be able to keep it up forever. It’s even less likely that all eight participants will keep up their torrid paces.

Mets rookie Pete Alonso was not happy after striking out on Sunday. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Mets rookie Pete Alonso was not happy after striking out on Sunday. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

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