Left fielder and DH Jonny Gomes was an invaluable hitter for the Tampa Bay Rays during his 2003-2008 tenure with the team. That is, if you needed a good, hard, right hook thrown in a brawl. Gomes never met a fight he didn’t like, from spring training in 2008 through a bench-clearer against the Red Sox in 2009. No wonder he holds the Rays’ record for being hit by a pitch (28). Unfortunately, he was an all or nothing ball hitter, and that left him knocking around for a few years with Oakland and Cincinnati before the Red Sox picked up his contract this year.
Last night, Jonny was hitting again, but this time it was a 378 foot, 3-run homer off the Cardinals’ Seth Maness to bring the 2013 World Series to a 2-2 tie. Of course, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the game, but Shane Victorino’s back was acting up, and Gomes was a last-minute addition to the roster. He’d batted .152 so far this postseason. That’s the way it is for him. “When you talk about a guy like me, pretty much every single at-bat, every pitch I see, my career is on the line,” said Gomes.
Gomes survived childhood poverty, a car crash in which a friend was killed, and a heart attack in 2002. He’s made the most of every opportunity he’s been given, both in life and in baseball. His intangibles kept him in the game. Easily recognized by his mohawk and tattoos, Gomes was responsible this year for Boston’s Duck Dynasty look, too.
Jonny always believed; now we do, too.