PORT ST. LUCIE — Pete Alonso’s in-game commentary wearing a microphone Wednesday was just one endeavor to give fans additional access to the Mets first baseman this season.
In the works, according to the player and team, is a microphone that will be placed inside first base at Citi Field to capture conversations between Alonso and opposing players. Those chats would then be replayed to fans on various media platforms. Alonso said he was approached by MLB with the proposal.
“Just because everybody asks, ‘What did you talk about at first base? ’ ” Alonso said. “One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had was with Freddie Freeman about wine. He’s a big wino and I love wine also. We were talking, ‘What do you like? What’s your favorite bottle? What’s your favorite make?’
“It’s kind of like, not like white noise, but you get to know the guys, especially for teams in division, you get to know them and have respect for them. Anthony Rendon, I also had some great conversations with him and also guys I grew up with.”
Alonso indicated he was originally asked by MLB to wear a microphone during games this season, but he declined. The compromise was placing a microphone in first base.
As part of an “All Access” exhibition game broadcast, ESPN on Wednesday mic’d up Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano, Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, manager Luis Rojas and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. ESPN’s broadcasters asked questions to the players and team officials during the game, and there was playful banter between players such as Smith, who was in left field, and Davis in the dugout.
“Technology is a crazy thing and who knows what this could turn into?” Alonso said. “I think it’s fun to actually share, kind of like live stream of conscious type deal going on. It’s interesting for sure.”
ESPN’s experiment comes as baseball tries to engage new, younger fans. Even so, Alonso is skeptical such an arrangement could work during the regular season.
“I wouldn’t be for it because I am trying to focus, and lock in, but for spring training, I think that is the perfect scenario,” Alonso said. “The All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, something of that nature I think it would be cool to have. I still like the in-game dugout stuff, but during the game I think that’s really difficult.
“Maybe for an outfielder that would be a little bit easier, maybe a pitcher talking to himself, but for me when I’m active at first base trying to communicate with other people, it can be a lot. But it’s interesting. I had fun doing it, and if we keep toying around with it maybe it turns into something really cool.”
As for the microphone inside first base, it’s expected the Mets will experiment with the setup in the Grapefruit League before trying it during the regular season.
“I’m open to trying it and if we don’t like it, then we don’t like it,” Alonso said. “But I’m open to trying different things just to try and help grow the game. I want to try to be a positive ambassador for the game, the best of my ability.
“I think there is multiple different ways to grow the game and get the flavor of each personality out there. I think that’s really important to grow the game and also MLB is stepping up to the plate to help out because as individuals we can only do so much, but MLB, they have the platform.”