The first baseman for the New York Mets, Pete Alonso, defended his title as Major League Baseball’s home run derby champion last night at Colorado’s Coors Field. Aiding him in his effort? A suite of eight custom baseball bats painted by artist Gregory Siff.
“It’s functional art, which is really, really awesome,” Alonso told ESPN.
Alonso came across Siff’s work when the artist painted a mural for MLB at ComplexCon, a Long Beach music festival. (The artist is from the Mets’ hometown of Queens, but now lives in Los Angeles.)
The bats were inscribed with a blend of graphics and phrases Alonso finds meaningful, such as “Family First,” “Truth, Beauty, Love, Baseball,” “LFGM,”—his personal, slightly off-color take on the “Let’s Go Mets” rally cry—and “” which means “come and take them” in Greek, a saying from the movie .
One design was dedicated to Alonso’s grandfather, a Spanish immigrant who graduated from New York University—hence its purple, silver, and black color scheme.
All of the bats were made by Alonso’s sponsor, Dove Tail Bats. Siff has also designed an accompanying merchandise line, with part of the proceeds going to Homers for Heroes, Alonso’s charity.
Stepping up to the plate for his first-round match in the bracket-style tournament, Alonso opted for a bat in blue and orange, the colors of the Mets. He hit an impressive 35 homers—a record in the first round—to dispatch Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals, and calling himself “a little stitious,” stuck with it throughout the night.
“Thank you Gregory Siff, you did an amazing job with all my home run derby bats and BP bats,” Alonso said.
In the second round, Alonso bested Washington Nationals star Juan Soto before taking on Baltimore Royal Trey Manchini in the final. After sitting out the 2020 season while being treated for stage three colon cancer, Manchini has made an impressive comeback this season.
But Alonso easily topped his 22 homers to take home the night’s trophy, presented by three-time derby champ Ken Griffey Jr., who won the last time the event was in Denver, in 1998.
“I’m extremely confident in my ability to hit the ball out of the yard,” Alonso said in the wake of his victory, which featured an astounding 74 home runs. “I feel like I’m the best power hitter in the game.”
MLB doesn’t currently permit painted bats during games, but Alonso was also wielding an artist-designed bat, titled “Haley’s Comet Bat,” when he claimed the 2019 title. The design, featuring a baseball trailing flames like a meteor shooting through atmosphere, was the work of Jeremy Guay at Peregrine Creative, also produced by Dove Tail Bats.
The imagery was meant to evoke the way Alonso was “going to put balls into orbit,” he said ahead of the contest. It doubled as tribute to Alonso’s fiancé, Haley Walsh, to whom the 26-year-old ballplayer has been engaged since 2018.