Year: 2019

Giants Fire Shurmur, Retain Gettleman. Can Belichick be in the Mix?

by Scott Mandel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today announced they have dismissed head coach Pat Shurmur after two seasons of a five-year contract.

Mark this down as another bad deal for the Giants.

The team also confirmed that general manager Dave Gettleman will remain in his position.

Mark that down as a win for John Mara, whose loyalty to Giants personnel is legendary, and a loss for co-owner, Steve Tisch, who reportedly wanted to sweep out the entire hierarchy of football decision-makers.

Looming over the Giants, a franchise that many feel is developing a young core of of talent along with a franchise quarterback in rookie Daniel Jones, could be the imposing figure of the winningest coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, currently trying to get to his tenth Super Bowl in the past 15 years with the New England Patriots.

Since becoming the Patriots head coach in 2000, Belichick has led them to 16 AFC East division titles, 13 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and nine Super Bowl appearances, with a record six wins. Belichick has participated in 11 Super Bowls, including two as Bill Parcells’ defensive coordinator in 1986 and 1991, has won eight Super Bowl championships in total from his combined time as an assistant and head coach. And, he’s never gotten rid of his soft spot for the Giants.

No one outside Foxborough knows for sure what his contract status is and there is speculation he could be available in 2020. Whenever given the chance, Belichick waxes poetic about the start of his NFL coaching career with the Giants. It is very likely that the Giants are the only team he would leave New England to take over. He could bring his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, with him — with McDaniels taking on the challenge of continuing the development of Daniel Jones. This would make sense if the rumblings that Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots is nearing an end.

The Giants were 9-23 in 2018-19 and have not won more than five games in any of the last three seasons.

“Steve and I have had many extensive discussions about the state of the Giants,” Mara said. “This morning, we made the very difficult decision that it would be in the best interest of the franchise that we relieve Pat of his duties. The last three seasons have been extremely disappointing for the organization and our fans. Pat has been a successful and highly-respected NFL coach for 21 years and he is not solely responsible for our record. But we came to the conclusion it is best to have a fresh start with the coaching staff. We very much appreciate how much Pat has done for this franchise. He is a man of character and integrity and the team has conducted itself with pride and professionalism.

“As owners, we take full responsibility for our recent poor record. It is our goal to consistently deliver high-quality football and we will do everything in our power to see that there is a rapid and substantial turnaround.”

Added Tisch, “The last two seasons have been a continuation of what has been a very difficult and disappointing period for our franchise. It is never easy to part with someone the caliber of Pat. But John and I came to the conclusion that we need a new voice in the coach’s office and made the decision to bring in new leadership.

“We understand how frustrated our fans are. They expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves. Our focus now is on developing and improving our football team so that our fans can enjoy the winning team they expect and deserve.”

Mara and Tisch believe that Gettleman is the best general manager for the team. His first draft class included running back Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection who set numerous records in his debut season and was selected the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In addition, his 2018 draft choices included Will Hernandez, who has started all 32 games in his two seasons at left guard, linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive tackle B.J. Hill.

This year, the Giants drafted 10 players, including Jones, who started 12 games and established numerous franchise rookie records, including 24 touchdown passes. Jones is expected to be a fixture at the game’s most important position for many years.

The 2019 draft class also included Darius Slayton, a fifth-round selection whose eight touchdown receptions tied him for first among NFL rookie wideouts; Dexter Lawrence, who started all 16 games; linebackers Oshane Ximines and Ryan Connelly; and defensive backs DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine.

“Dave Gettleman is our general manager in 2020 and hopefully for many years after that,” Mara said. “We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward. Dave has a long record of success. We think he’s capable of putting a great team together and he’s going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we’re going to discuss that.”

“Although our record didn’t reflect it this season, we believe Dave has assembled a strong nucleus of young players that will help us compete for championships in the future,” Tisch said.

Shurmur was named the 18th head coach in Giants history on Jan. 22, 2018.

The Giants finished their first season under Shurmur with a 5-11 record, a two-game improvement over their 2017 record.

Twelve of the Giants’ 16 games that season were decided by seven or fewer points, tying them with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the most in the NFL. The Giants were 4-8 in games decided by seven or fewer points. The eight losses in such games were an NFL high. The Giants held a fourth-quarter lead in four of those games.

The Giants began the 2019 season 2-2, with the two victories coming in Jones’ initial starts after Shurmur decided the rookie would replace 16-year veteran Eli Manning as the team’s starting quarterback. But after defeating Washington on Sept. 29, the Giants tied a franchise record by losing nine consecutive games and falling to 2-11. They did not win again until Dec. 15, when they beat the Miami Dolphins. That was the second of two games in which Manning substituted for Jones, who was sidelined by a sprained ankle.

Mara and Tisch said they will immediately begin their search for a new coach. They did not identify any candidates.

“The search will be extensive,” Mara said. “We understand this a very big decision for our franchise. We’ve had three losing years in a row and, quite frankly, we have lost some standing as an organization. When you have three losing years in a row as we have, you face a lot of criticism. A lot of it is deserved. It’s up to us now to turn that around and get back to where I think we should be.”

Mandel’s Musings: Knicks “Interim” Coach, Mike Miller Has Similar Qualities to Another Interim Hire – Red Holzman

By Scott Mandel

The Knicks put up 77 points in the first half against the Hawks, last night at Madison Square Garden. Then, they proceeded to add another 66 points in the second half, completing a 143-120 blowout of the Atlanta Hawks, another struggling NBA team.

The win brought the Knicks’ record under their interim coach, Mike Miller, to 3-3, which includes four west coast road contests. The previous coach, David Fizdale, had compiled a record of 4-18 before he was fired.

I’m not about to compare this new coach, Miller, to the legendary Red Holzman, the former Knicks head coach when the franchise won its only NBA championships in 1969-70 and 1972-73 but he seems to share a lot of the same personality traits and coaching sensibilities the self-effacing, camera-shy Holzman used to impart to his players.

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Interim Knicks coach, Mike Miller, may lose his interim title if team continues to progress

Holzman, an organizational scout who preferred to work behind the scenes in his scouting capacity, was brought in on an interim basis to replace Dick McGuire as Knicks coach in 1967. The Knicks were a putrid team going nowhere in those days but they did have a handful of talented parts on their roster. Today’s version of this franchise has continued a 20-year year run of mostly pitiful basketball, pitiful scouting, pitiful drafting, and pitiful coaching.

In both instances, there was no clamor from legitimate, high profile coaches to become the head coach of a franchise on its way to nowhere, either in 1967 or today. Even Steve Kerr, with no head coaching experience in 2013, turned down the Knicks. Whatever happened to him?

Both Holzman and Miller were organizational men who did what they were asked, which was to finish out the current season and try to get the team back on a path of respectability while a new coaching search began. Holzman did more than that, and has a bust in the NBA Hall of Fame to prove it. So far, Miller is 3-3. Both are superb accomplishments, given certain realities of the organizational history and the rosters they inherited.

At 4-18, it was time to say goodbye to David Fizdale. Enter organization man, Miller, a 55-year old basketball lifer who, like Holzman, worked the back roads of the basketball universe, far from the bright lights of Broadway, before being asked to take over a broken franchise. Miller became something of a last resort.

Like Holzman did, in 1967.

Back then, the team president, Ned Irish, decided to replace McGuire, who, like Fizdale, looked beaten and couldn’t wait to find the exit door. The team was in last place, and Irish decided to reach out to the nearest candidate, which he presumed to be Holzman. Holzman preferred the anonymity of scouting.

But Irish persisted.

”And I realized that if I didn’t take the coaching job,” Holzman, modest as always, said, ”I might not have any job.”

Miller, too, is one of those self-effacing types who doesn’t seek out television cameras or a high profile. He doesn’t make himself the story. Like Holzman, he’s a teacher, first, a disciplinarian, a basketball lifer, an old-school guy who focuses on the fundamentals of the game. Nothing fancy about the suits he wears or about the way he approaches the game.

Like Holzman.

Bill Bradley, who played for Holtzman from 1967 through 1977, once told me Holzman often solicited the players’ opinions on what they thought would work in a given game. The mutual respect sometimes made the process a collaborative one for those great Knicks teams. Of course, Holzman had the benefit of collaborating with basketball geniuses with very high hoops IQs. Bradley, DeBusshere, Frazier, Reed, Barnett, Phil Jackson, Jerry Lucas, Monroe. There wasn’t a Dennis Smith or a Julius Randle among them.

But, if last night’s game is any indication, we watched the youngsters on the Knicks, guys like Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, cutting hard to the hoop off of pick and rolls for easy buckets or finding cutting teammates with slick, but basic passes for easy baskets. Fundamental basketball.

Like Holzman.

And, a quick history lesson. Those terrible 1967 Knicks made the playoffs in the season in which Holzman took over the club. He agreed to stay on as coach. In December of the next season, the team traded for DeBusschere, giving the Knicks a tremendous force around the basket, as a defensive forward and long-range shooter. It was the piece that made the difference and made Holzman a legendary figure in NBA history who never took credit for his success. It was always about the players.

This guy, Miller, a quiet, middle-aged, balding basketball lifer with the interim title seems like an odd fit for this young, hip-hop 2019 team. But, something here is clicking. Any coach who can convince freakishly athletic talents with low understandings of team basketball like Dennis Smith and Julius Randle to play more controlled and within team-oriented concepts on both sides of the floor has somehow figured out how to communicate with this younger generation, despite the 30+ years in age difference with this roster.

Just like Holzman.

Hey Giants Fans, the Future of your 3-11 Team Isn’t as Bad as You Think

By Scott Mandel

NY Giants fans, you may yet have a happy future. Much sooner than you think.

Would you believe a 3-11 team, one with the potential to finish this inglorious 2019 season 3-13, hope to contend for a playoff slot in the near future? Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?

But, the answer, in this view is, a resounding yes.

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Giants future isn’t as bad as you think. Young talent is getting better

The Giants roster doesn’t consist of household names, yet. No Lawrence Taylor’s or Phil Simms or Eli Manning’s in that locker room. Well, there is that old guy, #10 still hanging in there but the future core of this team will not include that Jersey number, which will be retired.

But, talent, young emerging talent, is taking shape for Big Blue. And, the more I watch these kids every week, the more improvement I am seeing in technique, confidence, and most importantly, production on the field.

DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal, Cory Ballantine, Julian Love, Markus Golden, Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, Dexter Lawrence, and injured rookie linebacker, Ryan Connelly are mostly in their first or second years on a defense which might add the best defensive football player in the country out of Ohio State, Chase Young, if the Giants hold onto the second pick in the NFL draft by losing their last two games. The addition of young veterans, Leonard Williams (from the Jets) and Markus Golden have been examples of addition by addition. The removal of Janoris “JackRabbit” Jenkins, the veteran cornerback, has been addition by subtraction, especially in that locker room of impressionable youngsters.

From this group on defense will emerge new leaders. Don’t be shocked if names like Connelly, Julian Love, and Dexter Lawrence step up to that mantle.

It says here, next season will offer an athletic, fast, and tough unit on the defensive side of the ball. How do I know that? Because I know it. Take it to the bank.

The question is, will they have the right coach to guide these kids next season? Is the current coaching staff going to be retained to continue the progress?

On offense, the O-Line needs a massive upgrade in talent, particularly at the tackle positions and at center. But, I loved the young guards, Hernandez and Nick Gates, yesterday. Both are big, tough, athletic youngsters who like the game of football. Unfortunately, the stopgap free agents signed in the off-season by the potentially stopgap general manager, Dave Gettleman for the sole purpose of protecting the quarterback from the left and right tackle positions didn’t pan out, making Gettleman’s job tenuous, at best.

The receivers are solid, with Sheppard, Golden Gate, and Darious Slayton while tight ends Evan Engram and the Stanford kid, Kaden Smith are potential pass-catching stars as receivers. But, the key to this unit’s success will always remain with the success of the kid QB, Daniel Jones, and the star running back, Saquan Barkley, who, along with game-breaker Engram need to stay on the field. Until the offensive line becomes solid, though, scoring points will be a challenge, particularly vs. better teams, for Jones and his mates.

After all, you can’t play the Miami Dolphins every week, you know? But the core of this team appears to be very close to being one that will impact on the NFL, as soon as next year.

Manning, In Possibly His Last Start for Giants, Beats Dolphins, 36-20

by Scott Mandel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants and New York snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak with a 36-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns and New York’s much-maligned defense added a safety as the Giants (3-11) handed the Dolphins (3-11) their second loss in as many weeks at MetLife Stadium.

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The 38-year old Manning with game ball in post-game locker room

Watch Eli Manning run off the field to tremendous ovation from Giants fans: https://www.giants.com/video/eli-manning-receives-standing-ovation-as-he-celebrates-win-with-teammates-and-fa

Manning, who lost his starting job to Daniel Jones in Week 3 and got it back last week when the rookie sprained an ankle, threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Golden Tate in the second quarter and a go-ahead 5-yarder to Darius Slayton on the opening series of the second half. The 38-year-old also threw three interceptions, two of which set up by field goals by Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders.

With 1:50 left in the game, Manning (20 of 28 for 283 yards) was taken out by coach Pat Shurmur and replaced by Alex Tanney, drawing his second standing ovation from those left in the crowd. He walked to the sideline and was congratulated by teammates while the crowd chanted “Eli Manning.” He even smiled.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose game slipped after taking a big hit on a third-quarter scramble, threw two touchdowns to DaVante Parker, the second one with the game out of reach.

Buck Allen added a late 1-yard TD run in the Giants’ biggest offensive output of the season.

This was a game between teams with among the worst records in the league and Manning’s start gave it some meaning, especially for the locals who had seen him run the team since the middle of the 2004 season.

With his contract set to expire after this season, the Giants made sure his name was announced when the offense took the field for the second series of the game and he got a standing ovation. Some fans in the stands held up signs: “Thank You, Eli” one read.

Photos: Giants vs. Dolphins from the sidelines
Manning trots off the field with a minute remaining in the game to huge ovation

Manning stole the show in the second half, leading the Giants to three touchdowns on their first five possessions. His pass to Slayton wiped out a 10-7 deficit and Barkley, who had not run for 100 yards in the previous seven games, added TD runs of 1 and 10 yards.

The Dolphins took a 10-7 halftime lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Parker and a 24-yard field goal by Sanders.

Manning and Tate combined on a 51-yard catch and run to tie the game 7-all just 62 seconds after the Parker catch.

Giants Fans Hope Eli Manning’s Swan Song This Monday Night Isn’t a Disastrous Game for Immobile QB

by Scott Mandel

For those of you old enough to recall a former NFL great named Y.A. Tittle, you may remember the iconic photograph (shown above) of a bloodied and beaten Tittle at the end of his career as the quarterback of the New York Giants.

Then, there was the story of Joe Namath, the Super Bowl III championship quarterback of the New York Jets and cultural icon of the hippie-dippy 60s, whose quick release from the pocket, zipping the football 40 yards downfield on a straight line coupled with his football moxie and predictive powers (“We will beat the Colts in the Super Bowl”) changed the sport, forever.

You also probably remember Namath’s bad knees, particularly later in his career, that made him a veritable statue in the pocket who couldn’t avoid the rush of oncoming defensive linemen.

Namath, at age 34, was a washed up quarterback who gave it one last try with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. It was a miserable and sad happenstance to observe. He had never been mobile enough to avoid being sacked with some regularity when his Jets’ offensive line broke down but, in 1977, the Rams were terrible and their offensive line, much worse than terrible.

Like watching Willie Mays playing centerfield for the New York Mets at age 42, Namath and his arthritically-wracked knees was an easy target for pass rushers. He would get sacked before he even got set in the pocket to throw a pass. Watching Mays and Namath, and Tittle in the twilight’s of their careers were among one young man’s saddest boyhood memories.

We are hoping Eli Manning, at age 37, can put on a better show than Namath did 42 years ago when he starts for the Giants this Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles in front of a huge national television audience that will be tuning in to see the two-time Super Bowl champion’s potentially final performance in the NFL.

Eli Manning walks off the field after the Giants’ loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Manning started first two games of this season. Since then, zero snaps.

How ironic is it that Manning, in his 16-year NFL career, started 210 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 21, 2004 to Nov. 23, 2017, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, until temporary Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, replaced him for one start with the great Geno Smith. Yet, here we are, in season one of newly-crowned Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones getting injured with a high ankle sprain that may keep him sidelined for the remainder of his rookie campaign.

So Manning, holding a clipboard for the past 11 weeks, is back. No doubt, rusty and no doubt fearful this game could get very ugly for him and the Giants.

 

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What kind of performance will Manning have on Monday night?

The questions most fans are asking today are: Does Eli have anything left in the tank? Is he playing for a contract with the Giants or anther team for next season? Will he get sacked a dozen times as the Eagles rush punctures the porous Giants offensive line?

NFL fans, and Giants fans, in particular will be tuning in on Monday night to get their answers. The little guy, who saw Namath and Mays at the end of their careers, shedding a tear or two, hopes history does not repeat itself in the same way. But, there will be a box of tissues nearby, just in case.

Politics, Too:

New York Times Writes About the Democratic Party Not Having a Leading Minority Voice as the Primary Races Take Shape

by Scott Mandel

The New York Times, this morning, questioning how the Democratic party can present itself as a party of inclusion if they do not have any minority candidates running for the top office.

I don’t know, in this system we live under, or should I say, live within, voters choose. Unfortunately, polling also chooses and money follows the polling. Until money gets taken out of the electoral system, minority super pacs and very wealthy scions of industry and entertainment will need to give their billions to minority candidates of their choice to keep the Democratic Party from failing, in the Times’ eyes, from being an equal opportunity political party.

There is nothing egalitarian about politics in this country, right now. It is not about who has the clearest messaging or what color a candidate’s skin is. It IS about, especially this year, who the most electable person is, no matter gender or race..

And, while the New York Times is at it, I’d like to see a piece about the Republican party’s equal opportunity system for diversity among their national candidates.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) poses for photos after a roundtable with black male voters on Dec. 2 in South Carolina. (Meg Kinnard/AP)
Cory Booker hopes to capitalize on Kamala Harris; departure from the race for president

The other point, as the Times correctly points out, is that candidates like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard have not succeeded in garnering support from minority voters. That may be a more important piece of this equation to look at than Democratic party diversity issues.

Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing and now, Marcus Morris

By Scott Mandel

The Knicks are advertising their next game with, “come see Marcus Morris and the Knicks at MSG.”
Wow.

If this is not quite a sign that the apocalypse is on its way, it may be a sign that basketball, once known as the city game (when the city referred to was New York) has become a secondary event in this city and at Madison Square Garden, which used to house the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus every year until that entity also went out of business.

Is Jim Dolan, the Knicks owner, doing the same thing to the Knicks that happened to the circus or, have the Knicks, with a record of 4-14, become the new circus in town with Dolan as the ringleader?

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The Knicks are advertising on social media to “come out to MSG to watch Marcus Morris and the Knicks in 2019. Their record is 4-14.

Penn State Did Not Lose to a Better Ohio State Team, Their Coach, James Franklin Lost to Better Coach

By Scott Mandel

James Franklin, the head coach of Penn State, is terrible.

Letting Ohio State’s #2, defensive end Chase Young, the best football player in the country, rush his quarterback without a double team, or even a strong-side chip from a tight end or running back, is pathetic coaching at any level.

Leaving his helpless offensive lineman, #71, out there on an island by himself to block Mr. Young in obvious passing situations was truly the stupidest coaching I have ever seen in my life.

Chase Young , Ohio State’s pass-rushing machine, today set the all-time record for the storied university’s football program for most sacks in a season today with 16.5 sacks. There are still more games to be played to the 2019 season yet James Franklin could not figure out how to help his overmatched right offensive tackle.

Hell, most of the offensive tackles in the NFL will be overmatched against Young, who is profiling as the next Lawrence Taylor in the league where they play for pay.

There are rumors James Franklin is going to interviewed for the head coaching job with the University of Southern California. My strong advice for Penn State backers is to help Franklin pack his bags and send him on his way.

Today, in Columbus, Ohio, Penn State was not beaten by a better team. They were beaten by a better coach.

Jets’ Owner, Christopher Johnson: “Adam Gase Is Our Coach. Period”

by Scott Mandel

So the Jets owner, Christopher Johnson, publicly pronounced that his choice of Adam Gase to be the head coach of the New York Jets on January 3rd of this year has been rewarded with the kind of progress all of us sane football fans can easily perceive.

I mean, who wouldn’t think a 2-7 football team wasn’t showing progress, right? Perhaps, the Jets “big win” over the 2-8 New York Giants changed everyone’s thinking around Jets land. But, is their thinking rational?

Here’s the thing. The Jets stink. Their offense, which is Gase’s baby, stinks. Their defense stinks. Their special teams stink.

So why is Christopher Johnson sticking with Adam Gase, then? One reason and one reason only.

Sam Darnold, the young quarterback drafted last year who has seemingly regressed in this, his second season as an NFL starting quarterback. Johnson and the Jets’ hierarchy are protecting Darnold from the awful prospect of having a winning head coach come in next season, with a winning track record and mucking up Darnold’s development.

We agree, with Johnson, but only to the extent the young quarterback should have the benefit of continuity within the offensive system Gase installed this year. But, It would not ruin Darnold’s career to go into yet, another system next season if Gase was relieved of his duties. Darnold, still only 22-years old, is talented and mobile, a prototypical modern quarterback in today’s NFL. His weaknesses of ball security and decision-making with many of his throws are fixable by any coaching staff, and are separate issues that have been a part of his history, going back to his college days at USC.

I am convinced this head coach is not going to be successful. He does not appear to have the personality or leadership skills to coach 53 players and the three platoons of a football team. he focuses on offense the way Rex Ryan focused on defense.

The reality is, his offensive systems have not proven successful in the past nor hase his play-calling been viewed as groundbreaking in any way.

If I’m running the Jets, should a better option than Adam Gase present itself, if a coach with a long career of winning and getting his teams into the postseason become available, I would get rid of Gase in a second. The still young Darnold can adjust to a third system. Especially when the current system sputters, anyway. And. before we start talking about offensive lines and injuries, always know that every NFL team has the same issues with offensive lines and injuries. 


Mike McCarthy would have had this team in a better place than 2-8, or whatever their record is.

Mets’ Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

by Scott Mandel

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso tonight was named the 2019 National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).

Alonso received 29 of 30 first-place votes and garnered 148 of a possible 150 voting points. He is the second Mets position player (also, Darryl Strawberry in 1983) and sixth player in club history overall to win the award. Four Mets pitchers have also been named Rookie of the Year: Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Jacob deGrom (2014).

The 24-year-old put together one of the greatest offensive seasons ever by a rookie, setting numerous Mets and major league records. Most notably, he became the first Met and first rookie to lead the majors outright in home runs, swatting a major league rookie-record 53 blasts.

“I am so grateful to the Baseball Writers’ Association for their recognition,” Alonso said. “I’m truly blessed and humbled to be part of a group of some of the best to ever play the game. This season was the most special time I’ve ever had on a baseball field. I’m extremely thankful to the Mets for allowing me the opportunity to prove myself at the major league level this year. I can’t wait to get back to work in the spring and make a push for the postseason in 2020.”

Alonso was a three-time NL Rookie of the Month honoree, taking home the award in April, June and September. The only other players to win three NL Rookie of the Month awards are Jason Bay (2004) and Juan Soto (2018).

In addition to setting Mets club marks for home runs, extra-base hits (85) and total bases (348) in his first major league season, Alonso also established club rookie records for hits (155), RBI (120), runs scored (103), at-bats (597), plate appearances (693), games played (161), slugging percentage (.583), OBP (.358) and OPS (.941). He tied the club rookie record with 72 walks.

“Pete’s historic rookie season created great memories and thrilled Mets fans all year,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. “We are very proud of how he represents our fans, teammates and the organization on and off the field with his energy, enthusiasm and passion.”

Alonso became the first rookie position player in Mets history to be named to the NL All-Star team. He was the first rookie to win the Home Run Derby outright as well, defeating fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the final round. In the Midsummer Classic, he went 1-2 with a two-run single and a stolen base, making him the first rookie with multiple RBI in an All-Star Game.

“Pete was a joy to watch all season long for our passionate fans as well as all of us in the organization,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “We’re so proud to see his on-field results match his tireless work ethic.”

Alonso led the NL in extra-base hits, was second in total bases, third in RBI, sixth in slugging and seventh in OPS. He led all qualified rookies in games played, hits, home runs, RBI, OPS, extra-base hits, runs scored, walks, total bases and slugging percentage.

Alonso will receive the award during the 97th Annual New York Baseball Writers’ Dinner on January 25, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

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