|Gio Gonzalez and I|
I raced out of work at 5:30PM so I could go right to Citi Field to catch the end of batting practice.
More importantly, my goal was to see A's pitcher Gio Gonzalez. He didn't make it easy but I still found a way to make it happen.
When I got into the ballpark I went down the left field line thinking that Gio would probably be near there.
I looked around and I didn't see him in that area. I proceeded to scan the rest of the outfield. I noticed a lefty way out in right field. I said to myself that's Gio.
I went up the to the concourse and I made my way over to where he was.
I yelled out to him and I got his attention. He instantly saw me and said hello. I told him I looking for him out in left field. He told me and I quote "I like to switch it up." He threw me a curve ball. After speaking to him from a short distance he told me to go near their dugout which was by the third base side. After batting practice, he said he would come over.
I listened to his instructions and I got as close to their dugout area as I could right by where they keep the tarp rolled up.
Gio true to his word came over once I got his attention. We shook hands and shot the breeze if you will. Honestly speaking, Gio is one of the nicest baseball players you'll ever meet. In my eyes, he's a class act. He signed autographs for all the youngsters that were around me. One of them said and I quote "he's been here for 20 minutes."
I had an Athletics pocket schedule that had a picture of him on it that he signed for me. In addition, he also signed my scorebook.
I've gotten his autograph a number of times over the last few years but I never realized that he writes with his right hand. He's a lefty pitcher and he bats righty which is rather odd. I happen to be a straight up lefty myself. I write, throw and bat lefty.
In my conversation with him, I told him the best pitch he threw this year was when he hit Derek Jeter. He said and I quote "I really didn't want to do that." He's a true professional. Gio has had his bouts with wildness on the mound so it's understandable that the pitch got away from him.
Speaking of his pitching, I finally got to see his pitch live in the major leagues for the very first time on Wednesday. I've always had the misfortune in the past of missing him pitch by a day. Lucky for me that didn't happen this time around.
Gio knew I was in the building so he wanted to really impress me. Well did he ever. I told him on Tuesday night when I saw him he needed to cut down on his walks. Apparently, I got my message across.
Wednesday night, Gio was amazing. He pitched great. He threw a seven pitch 1,2,3 first inning. In the second inning, he was a little shaky after he made a tremendous athletic play at first base catching a horrible throw from teammate Conor Jackson who tried to get Gio killed as the King said. Gio caught the ball and still managed to touch the bag for the first out of the inning. He then ran into some trouble but he was able to minimize the damage only allowing the Mets to score just one run. The score stayed that way until catcher Kurt Suzuki hit a solo home run to tie the game for the Athletics in the fifth inning at one. Gio pitched seven beautiful innings but since he left with the game tied he didn't get a decision for effort.
As for his overall performance, I gave him an "A". He was brilliant. He throw 102 pitches and 69 of them for strikes. If you take into account, how wild he's been at times this season, this performance was a stellar one for him. He walked none and he struck out eight. I just hope he can repeat this every time out going forward. If so, he will be a great pitcher for many years to come. Time will tell.
I hope to see Gio again when the A's come to Yankee Stadium in July and/or August.
I want to personally thank Gio for taking the time to see me and his other fans.
I hope he gets a nice contract extension real soon. He's one of the few I hope gets a well deserved payday. He's worked very hard to be where he is and he should be rewarded properly.
Thank you for reading and following along.
Stay tuned for the rest of my week of 6/20 in review.