An Unforgettable Night
Last night was a regularly scheduled game for my girlfriend and I on our 20-Game ticket plan. Saturday was actually a scheduled day for us as well. So our last two ballgames have been ticket saving, Major League Debut’s for the Rangers 2013 and 2012 first round draft picks.
Chi Chi Gonzalez dazzled in his major league debut Saturday against the Red Sox. He was the Rangers first overall pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft – 23rd overall. Chi Chi, as he likes to be called, went 5.2 innings, giving up just two hits and no runs. He did struggle in the 6th with his command a bit but nearing 100 pitches in your Major League Debut, that can be forgiven. I can’t wait for his next start.
But I’m not here to talk about Chi Chi today. I’m here to talk about Joey “Gobbles” Gallo. The Rangers number one prospect and one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Gallo, as we all know by now, has what scouts call 80 grade power. That means his power is graded as high as it will possibly go. The kid checks in at 6′-4″ 230 and trust me, he is every bit of that.
I had the chance to talk to Gallo several times while he was in Frisco, some off the record stuff but mostly on the record. Just from talking to him you can tell he gets it. One of the questions I asked him one day was if he walks around Frisco and gets recognized.
“Nah. No one recognizes me, I’m just some minor leaguer, man.”
I wish I had to the chance to follow up on that question after last night. Gallo, I hate to tell ya this, but you will be recognized walking around DFW now my man. But that’s part of his makeup and the type of guy he is. He’s a humble, fan friendly, down to earth, and loves to laugh and joke it up with his teammates. He hasn’t yet had time for the stardom get to him. Hopefully he never does.
My last interaction with Gallo was during batting practice at Frisco about two weeks ago. I was standing by the dugout taking some notes and taking some video of the guys when Gallo walks over and just says, “hey whats up dude, good to see you again.”
How is it that Joey Gallo can walk around and not get recognized by people, but can recognize some random blogger on the field before the game? That’s the kind of person he is. That is why I was extremely happy for him last night.
I was lucky enough to catch his AA Debut last June. Ya know, the one where he hit a walk off bomb. That was crazy. Prior to that at bat, he had hit a foul ball down the right field line that CLEARED the trees in the corner of the stadium. That ball was at least 450 feet. At least. His walk off was no slouch either. An opposite field three run blast.
JOEY GALLO WALK OFF!!! 3 RUN BOMB!!!
— Billy (@BCasey55) June 10, 2014
During the pre-game lineup announcements from Chuck Morgan, there was a noticeable louder-than-normal cheer when Gallo’s name was announced. I was actually a little impressed by that. I didn’t think that Rangers fans would care or even know who the hell he was.
Boy was I wrong – on both counts.
People knew who he was and damn did they care.
As Gallo is announced for his first at bat, the crowd is already on their feet cheering. Many times I could hear the outlying fan yelling “LET’S GO JOEY!” The buzz around the park was incredible for his first big league at bat. What made this at bat even more better was that it was going to be with the bases loaded!
There’s no way he does what we all hope he does is there? Not in his first at bat right? Rangers fans aren’t used to have that kind of story book written for us.
It wasn’t a majestic moon shot but it was a liner down the first base line past the Gold Glover Adam LaRoche for a two out, two run (controversial) single. It wasn’t the grand slam we were all hoping for but it gave the Rangers the lead and it was Joey Gallo. So all was good. When the ball got by LaRoche, I immediately thought that should have been an error but with that being his first at bat and him possibly not getting another hit all night, I had a feeling the official scorer would side with Gallo.
Then, his second at bat came. I noticed this buzz again except this time, it was different. A buzz that I hadn’t heard in Arlington since the 2010 World Series. Sure, the ballpark has been loud, but nothing like this. This is a buzz that I had only heard once before – at Yankee Stadium last year during a Derek Jeter at bat.
The buzz quickly turned into a massive roar.
Gallo mashes a fastball down the heart of the plate some 445 feet (according to MLB StatCast) into the Texas night sky, landing in the upper deck, and showing off that natural raw power he possesses. That place went nuts. Absolutely berserk. His first one in the big leagues, just like his first AA long ball, wasn’t a cheap one by any stretch of the imagination.
And just like that, the Joey Gallo era in Texas had begun. 2-2 four RBI with a single and a home run. That was already more than anyone really anticipated he’d get in his first big league game.
But his night didn’t end there.
He drilled a double in his third at bat. A double that fooled even the great Chuck Morgan. Morgan played the home run music as the ball hit off the top of the wall. Gallo was racing around first and wasn’t going to be denied. A head first slide into second base and safe was the call. Could this really be happening?
Could Joey Gallo really be just a a triple away from the cycle.. IN HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT?!
Gallo would fall short of the cycle, striking out and drawing a walk in his final two plate appearances. But what a debut it was. 3-4 three runs, four RBI, single, double, home run, and a walk.
If you get the chance to make it out to Arlington tonight or tomorrow, DO IT. You may not get treated like we did last night, or you may get treated to something more special. Any night with Joey Gallo can be special.
Any night with Gobbles can be an unforgettable night.