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July 8, 2019

Pete Alonso

Derek Morgan

Cleveland, Ohio

Q. How did it feel to go from the most hated guy after the first round to really beloved at the end?
PETE ALONSO: I didn't think I'd ever be booed at a Home Run Derby, to be honest with you. But I guess that's the hometown home cooking.

Dealt with some adversity but we overcame, and pretty much just survive and advance. That was it. But then we hit a sweet spot, and got in a groove for a little while and just carried on through. So was really special. I'm so blessed.

Q. At the press conference before the Home Run Derby, you mentioned a lot of friends and family here tonight. Who was here and how does it feel doing this in front of them?
PETE ALONSO: I can't name everyone, that's how many people were here. But to do this in front of friends and family and loved ones, it was a dream come true. It was amazing. I couldn't have had a better pitcher. This was surreal.

Q. Obviously the Home Run Derby format has been tweaked over the years, but tonight between you guys, 312 home runs. But obviously the head-to-head format worked. What was it like, what do you think you showed off with the young talent you have here?
PETE ALONSO: I mean it was special. There's so many guys that just put on a show, like Joc, he was amazing, Vladdy, they did such a good job. Everybody. I don't want to leave anybody out. Everybody did such an amazing job just going out there and showing their stuff and showcasing young talent in the game. I thought it was awesome. Everyone went out there and put on a show. I thought it was really entertaining to watch and sit on the sidelines for it.

And I got some time to kind of sit back and soak it all in and watch some guys hit some moon shots. It was fun. It was fun to be a part of. And to be a part of this, this is surreal.

Q. How much did you and Derek huddle between rounds and discuss what to work on and all that?
DEREK MORGAN: We did a couple of times. The first round we got the jitters out. I think we figured it out after the first timeout in that first round. But just stayed positive and keep grinding and surviving.

Q. Were there any jitters?
PETE ALONSO: I think both of us. For a lot of the guys, too. I mean, it was the first Derby for a lot of guys. I think only maybe two out of the eight guys have actually participated in one before. A lot of the guys actually had the same feelings that I had and Derek. I mean, it's a lot of first times for everybody. So a lot of us were in the same boat.

But regardless, everyone put on a show. To me it didn't really seem like the jitters were there, because everyone was awesome. I mean everyone was showing their stuff.

Q. It looked like as the night went on you got stronger and/or more fired up. Was that the case?
PETE ALONSO: Yeah, I mean, it's survive and advance. You've got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn't matter how many you hit, you just need to have one more than the guy you're facing.

I'm really happy that I didn't have to swing a lot going into the extra rounds. That's the one thing that most of my teammates, especially Robbie and Todd Frazier and Chili (Davis) -- because Chili, he was Yoenis Cespedes' hitting coach when he won the Derby in Oakland. Pretty much they were all just saying conserve as much energy as possible between rounds, hydrate, get electrolytes and keep the body loose, but you don't need to exert energy taking too many swings. Between the second and third round we didn't go down and take any swings. So I feel like conserving energy was huge.

And after we finally got in that rhythm it was money. It was money.

Q. What are you wearing around your neck?
PETE ALONSO: I think Daddy Yankee gave me this Home Run Derby 2019 Championship. It's sweet. It even spins.

So I didn't know this was a thing, but I'm very happy that -- I'm very willing to accept this. This is cool. I think I might play the game tomorrow with this on.

Q. How do you spend the four minutes with a guy like Vlad or Acuña is up there? Do you watch or is it a helpless feeling just knowing that whatever they have to do they're making your life harder with every swing?
PETE ALONSO: I wouldn't say it's helpless. I kind of asked what some of the starting pitchers what they thought, because this is a very -- like starting pitching is very individual, and it's an individual battle. It's whoever let's up -- pretty much whoever let's up the less runs gets the W. And I feel like it's a very kind of 1-v-1 similar format. And you can't really concentrate on what the other people are doing. It's all about what you can do and lock in and stay rested, and go out there and perform the best you can.

Q. As a veteran and a member of the Wounded Warrior project, I want to say thank you. And ask you, was it someone in your family, someone close to you that made you decide to give that amount that you're giving to the charity?
PETE ALONSO: Well, both of my grandpas, they served in the military. My grandpa on my mom's side was a Marine, and my grandpa on my dad's side was in the Army. One was during the Korean War time, and the other was during World War II. I feel like a really strong bond with those people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

And also on the same token, on the flip side, the same people that are willing to make that sacrifice to protect us here at home, whether it's firefighters, EMTs, cops, there's so many people that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice every day. They don't know what they're going to go into when they go into work. A bad day at work for them is a lot different than me going 0-for-4 or getting booed off field.

And this year, it's just been so special. I've been living a fantasy. And I just want to use my platform as almost kind of just reach out to people and just make people aware of these causes. And I hope that other people could find the kindness in their hearts. For me, yeah, it's about the money, but for me it's about the platform and the whole purpose behind it and the awareness is the important thing. And I hope other people can find the kindness if their hearts to reach out and help other people that help us.

Q. Did you do this in high school at all or college or anything similar? Also when did you and Derek start throwing earlier in your lives together?
PETE ALONSO: Actually we kind of grew up around baseball. And the first time he threw to me was when I think we were in Atlanta. So it was like a month ago. And flew him out. We had a bunch of family in Atlanta; it was awesome. And he was throwing really good. And then eventually the more we kind of went on, he came for the Subway Series and we put on a show for early work. And he really got the stamp of approval because you've got veterans like Robbie Cano, Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos making sure he's throwing money BP, and he was putting it right there for me. He impressed a lot of the guys, and especially all the coaching staff, too. They're really impressed and everyone thought, look, y'all are going to win this thing, and they're right.

Q. (No microphone.)
PETE ALONSO: So my first Home Run Derby service against Jose Canseco in 2014 during the -- was it the Northwoods League Collegiate Summer League. Jose came to town, because he played for the Madison Muskies. The Muskies eventually turned into the Mallards. Were converted from a Minor League team to a college wood-bat summer team. And then I think I hit five the first round, the other guy that was in it, Joe Dudek, he was the first baseman for UNC, he hit six, and then Jose won. Jose advanced to the next round. And it was him against Joe. I got the short end of the stick.

But that kind of prepared me. If you don't like it, hit more homers and you'll advance. You just need one more it's survive-and-advance mentality. It was money BP, couldn't have done it without it.

Q. Derek, how much of a tip do you think you deserve off of your performance tonight?
DEREK MORGAN: Honestly just to be here, that's all that matters to me. Everybody is talking about him dreaming, and I'm still dreaming. I'm catching myself sitting here just flashing back to just the memories I had 20 minutes ago. It's just surreal. And all that matters is that he asked me. I'm just blessed and honored that he asked me.

Q. You didn't need your 30-second bonus time in any round, what was that feeling like? And also what was it like to watch that duel between Joc and Vladdy?
PETE ALONSO: That was elite hitting. That was the best -- some of the best rounds of BP I've ever watched. That was up there with -- I think that was even better than the Josh Hamilton round, because both of them going back and forth, and clawing back the way that Joc did, he had his work cut out for him. But the way he came back, that's just mental fortitude right there. That was a hell of a shot. I don't know if we're ever going to see that again. That was special. So definitely going to remember that one, for sure.

Q. The walk-offs?
PETE ALONSO: I'm just happy that I didn't need the extra time, because that's extra swings. And that eventually -- that could have possibly carried over into the next round. So I'm happy that I was able to conserve as much energy throughout the event, and that was huge. Without being kind of where I was in the seeding, I put myself in a good position with the regular season. Without that it may have been a different story. I'm really fortunate with how the brackets worked out. But survive and advance.

Q. I've got to ask, you probably already answered this a few times, where did the "Polar Bear" nickname come from?
PETE ALONSO: Todd Frazier. In Spring Training, he said, "You look like a big, damn polar bear." And then it just kind of stuck. So if any of you guys know Todd Frazier, he's a loud mouth from Jersey. He tells it how it is. But I love that guy. He's a great teammate. But he's quite the character. He's a clown. But definitely got it from him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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