Yesterday was the height of the Carlos Gomez experience. His day began on a frustrating note. The veteran of 12-years had struggled at the plate through a slow start to the season (as is the trend with many veterans) swinging early and often.
After striking out earlier in the game, Gomez even took his bat to his knee Bo Jackson style:
Gomez was one of two players to break his bat in frustration (Mallex Smith whacked his on the ground). Mallex had little reason to be upset, given his hot hitting streak dating back to KK’s injury, but Gomez had every right given his paltry batting line.
Things would be looking up for Gomez shortly.
Carlos Gomez walk off moonshot
With the game tied in the ninth inning, the Twins sent setup man Addison Reed back to the mound for 2-3-4 in the Rays order, and it’s here the Gomez theatrics began. It starts with a first pitch fastball set up down and away:
... but Reed missed badly, and the pitch instead was right down 1st Avenue:
You best not miss against Carlos Gomez. The contact was loud, and GoGo immediately flipped the bat, before turning to celebrate with his teammates with his arms raised. He wasn’t even going to watch it go.
Carlos Gómez exhibiting some tremendous veteran leadership. pic.twitter.com/9pE7OkeFmx— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 22, 2018
But then he took it to another level only Carlos Gomez can do. He adjusted the brim of his helmet before sticking his tongue out as he started the home run trot.
Not captured in that specific clip?
As he rounded second Gomez looked toward home and saw his teammates gathering.
As if you could see the moment sinking in, Carlos Gomez then began smacking the helmet against his head as he approached third:
After the customary five-down-low to Q, he kissed his fist and pointed to the sky in thanks...
... before clapping and leaping into the air, then dropping low for a fist pump toward the gathered Rays as he was closing in on the last 20 feet to home plate.
But a fist pump wasn’t enough. Gomez was feeling the moment.
He leaped into the air again, smacking his chest with both hands, and then landed in a crouched low position where he mimed what I can best describe as Ray Lewis ripping his shirt off with style:
Here’s the view from the photographer’s well:
This man was amped.
He bounded into home plate as the electrolytes came flying, and his helmet was pulled off.
Watch for all those elements here:
On the Radio Carlos Gomez was asked, “how do you feel?“
His answer: “Sexy.”
That comment mirrored his response on opening day, a mantra you could expect all year in great Rays moments. After the game, Gomez credited Kevin Cash for instilling continued confidence as he stepped up to the plate, and was overjoyed to discuss his first career walk off.
Notable he said, “This was for my son.”
After the game, Carlos Gomez said was still emotional discussing his first career walk-off, explaining he’d promised to hit a home run for his son that morning:
Yandel “had a really good game yesterday playing soccer,” Gomez said. “And they won the game because of the goal he scored. I told him today, ‘It’s my turn, I’m going to try and hit a homer for you.’ And I did, and I know he’s going to be really happy.” [mlb.com]