|Me and Gio Gonzalez at Citi Field on 9/11|
Thankfully he got the run support he needed to beat the Mets, 5-1. To his credit, he did work himself out of some jams to keep his team in the game so with that being said he deserved the win. It was his major league leading 19th I might add. The way he's pitched throughout the season has him in the running for a possible Cy Young award in the National League. If he finishes strong, I think he could beat the Mets' R.A. Dickey for the honor. We'll wait and see how the rest of the season plays out first. I like the Mets' and R.A. Dickey but it's hard to overlook Gio and what he's done in his first year in the National League with the Nationals.
After work Tuesday night on 9/11 no less I went straight to Citi Field to catch the end of batting practice. More importantly, I was looking to see Gio Gonzalez face to face. When I got to the field level, I looked around to see where Gio was. I spotted him by left field so I proceeded to walk down to get as close to him as I could. I yelled out his name and of course he acknowledged my presence.
When batting practice ended, the Nationals ran off the field to get ready for the game. The only one who came over to sign autographs for the bunch of people who were standing by me was Gio. He's truly one of a kind. I told these people to relax that Gio would come over once batting practice ended. Since I've been fortunate to see him numerous times in the past, I knew I would be right.
Gio came right to me and he shook my hand and we talked. I had him sign my scorebook a few times on the pages of the games I saw him win at Citi Field against the Mets on July 24th and September 10th. He also signed a few pictures of him and I that were taken back in April at Citi Field. He's such a special athlete and person in my eyes. I told him I speak from my heart. I don't lie.
While he continued signing autographs for other people I told him since we follow each other on Twitter that I noticed you had lunch with a former boss of mine if you will. You met up with Mitch Modell from Modell's Sporting Goods on Monday. I told him I used to work for them back in the day. He had nothing but great things to say about Mitch. I knew that was true from my experience of meeting him a number of times myself.
Before I said goodbye to Gio, I got to take another picture with him. Thanks to Gio I had more reason not to forgot this 9/11 in particular. Gio always gives me hope because I always think of his "stay positive" mind set which has taken him to another level in his life as a major league pitcher.
I told Gio I will try to look for him again on Wednesday night.
After work again I went right to Citi Field to see if indeed I could see Gio again.
It was like an instant replay for me as I was able to do so. When I left home in the morning, I got my USA Sports Weekly which was on the steps as I opened the door to go to work. I normally put it inside the door and I look at it later when I get a chance.
This time quite amazingly I noticed the cover had Gio on it. I was in disbelief. I instantly took it with me so I could try to get him to sign it. It referred to him as "Nationals Treasure". He's been that and more since they traded for him a few days before Christmas last December. In retrospect, they gave up a lot in order to get him. Accordingly to an article I saw on that Wednesday on MLB.com just before the 2013 MLB schedule was released, they wrote how both teams have benefited from the trade between the Nationals and the Athletics. I hope and pray they somehow meet up in the World Series in October. That would be a fitting ending to this story line and season. Both teams have played better than expected in the short term since the trade.
As for seeing Gio again, I did indeed. I got his attention upon my arrival during batting practice and I waved the Sports Weekly at him proudly and I yelled out Cy Young.
After batting practice concluded, I saw Gio again. This time he signed the cover with his picture on it as well as a ticket stub I had from the July 24th game when I finally saw him win his first game in the major leagues in person. I saw a second one on Monday night. After being notorious for just missing him pitch by a day the last few years, my luck has changed for the better. I've now seen him four times live. Once last year and three times this year. He's 2-1 with one no decision.
During our conversation, I told him I saw on Twitter that he met former NBA player Kevin Willis. He said he's getting him some nice suits. I told Gio I remember when I met you in Sacramento and I said I was from NYC. You said you were never there. Now he said that he's been here so many times, it's like a second home. I told him you're always welcome here.
In addition, I gave him my contact information again and hopefully he'll contact me in the off season. If not, I plan to look for him again in April when baseball returns.
In the meantime, I will always continue to praise him on and off the field. Trust me he has earned a special place in my heart for many years to come. He deserves the accolades.
Stay tuned for the next installment of my amazing whereabouts. Please bear with me as I've fallen behind due to no spare time.
Thank you for reading and following along.