Pete Alonso, Adam Fox
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso and Rangers defenseman Adam Fox both stand tall as youngsters above the disarray.

Frank Curto

The New York sports scene has been taking a beating in recent years. A parade in the Canyon of Heroes hasn’t been hosted by a New York City team since 2011 after the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

A championship drought doesn’t eliminate all that’s great about the sports area. For two organizations, a different feel has taken hold with two rookies rising in colossal fashion, each providing hist respective organization a glimmer of hope.

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox have both played at another level as rookies during the 2019 calendar year and the similarities don’t end with success on the field.

Different paths are taken to achieve the ultimate goal

Alonso busted out of the gate in 2019, but things weren’t as rosy in 2018. He split time between the AA and AAA and grew impatient waiting to be called up to the big leagues. The Mets felt it was best for him to stay in Las Vegas, and ultimately, the decision paid off.

When Fox was originally drafted by Calgary, he decided to stay at Harvard University instead of signing an entry-level contract with the team. The Flames, realizing that they would not be able to sign him, moved the kid to Carolina. He eventually signed with the team he grew up rooting for, the Rangers.

Interestingly, both young studs were quite vocal prior to landing on the big stage. They each oozed a certain sort of confidence prior to their New York City arrival.

More specifically, both players joined teams who struggled to find their identity. The Mets have been unable to get back to the postseason since their World Series appearance in 2015. The Rangers have been in the midst of a rebuild that has sacrificed the postseason for nearly three years.

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015. The Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final the year prior, 2014.

Both clubs failed to bring home a championship.

Comparing the two is unfair. The sports they play in are instinctively different in every aspect. What they do share is the drive, determination and hunger that is required of any athlete in New York City to be successful.

Polar Bear Express breaks the record bank

This past season, Alonso arrived in Port St. Luci for training camp uncertain of what lied ahead. The kid worked hard and made the club as the team’s first baseman.

He went on to have one of the best seasons a rookie could have in the major leagues.

– Set the new MLB rookie record for home runs (53).
– The first rookie to lead the MLB in home runs.
– He ranked fourth in MLB with 120 RBI.
– He led all rookies with 155 hits and 85 extra-base hits.

He was the obvious winner of the  2019 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Tampa, FL native took New York by storm with his work ethic that everyone watching could appreciate. He captivated the baseball world in late September when he smacked his 53rd home run of the season on Sept. 28 in front of his home fans at Citi Field.

The bond he has created between himself and the Met fans is quite reminiscent of the one David Wright had during his tenure with the Metropolitans.

Adam Fox
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A Rookie standing tall on the Blue Line

A few miles from Citi Field, another rookie took his place in front of the great fans of NYC.

Fox was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes at the end of last season. The 21-year-old from Jericho, NY was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

He stayed at Harvard University where he had a stellar career until the signing of his entry-level contract with the Rangers. Fox played in the Traverse City tournament in August and then attended training camp, where he earned a starting spot on the opening night roster. He has not missed a game with the team.

The kid has been playing like a veteran defenseman. Fox has recorded six goals with 26 points in his 46 games. He has been paired with fellow 21-year-old defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Of his 20 assists, half have been recorded on the power-play. He is averaging 17:53 minutes on ice per game.

The defenseman ranks sixth on the team in points and fourth in power-play points behind Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Tony DeAngelo.

League-wide, Fox is ranked sixth in points (26) and has been mentioned as a possible Calder Trophy nominee (awarded annually as the Rookie of the Year).

Fox has been used in practically every situation from skating with one of the two power-play units to penalty killing, to being a key component at the end of a game against the opposition’s best players. He is one of the key reasons why the club is just six points out of a playoff position as the team head into the NHL All-Star break next week.

These two great athletes have done everything their clubs and fans could ask of them. They both came to their respective teams amid struggles and have taken on leadership roles that would resemble a veteran player.

Alonso and Fox are going to grow up in front of the eyes of their fans—a great opportunity to see two players, in their sport, reach the pinnacle and possibly bring a championship and a heroes parade back to New York City.

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