Pedro Gomez

The sudden passing of long-time ESPN journalist Pedro Gomez at 58 last Sunday led to numerous tributes from colleagues, other journalists, and MLB players. Gomez’s passing has now also led to some new resources for aspiring journalists through the newly-launched Pedro Gomez Foundation. Passing on his knowledge to the next generation of writers and reporters was always a key goal for Gomez, as Katherine Fitzgerald writes in The Arizona Republic, so this seems quite fitting:

The Pedro Gomez Foundation was formed almost immediately. The foundation will first support scholarships for students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, with the plan to expand to other passions of Pedro’s.

[Family friend Nikki] Balich, who is also the Executive Director of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, made the connection between the Gomez family and the Cronkite School. Balich said Sandi knew right away that helping the next generation of sports journalists must be part of Pedro’s legacy.

She said that she is going to live her life to try to be more like Pedro,” Balich said.  “She just wants to do good. And this is what Pedro would want.”

Fitzgerald’s entire piece on Gomez is well worth a read, especially when it comes to her story of how he sacrificed his time to speak to a journalism class she was teaching:

Like so many others, I grew up seeing Pedro on TV, marveling at his reporting. When I eventually met him on assignments in Arizona, I was floored by his warm demeanor. Around the same time, I was also teaching Intro to Sports Reporting at ASU. Eventually, I asked a question he had gotten many, many times: Will you come talk to my class?

Pedro agreed immediately, needing just two follow-up questions: When and where? I would tell him the room number and then pass along the unfortunate information: the class was an 8 a.m. That felt like too big an ask. “Maybe 8:30?” I said.

“I’m good with whatever helps you,” he would say. “If you want 8, I can do that.”

So in person or over Zoom, Pedro came to class the last couple of years. Each time, he would harp on the importance of asking good, open-ended questions. Don’t ask yes-or-no questions, he would say. Ask why and how. 

“It’s a simple rule. It’s an old rule. But it still works today. It still works today,” he said in 2019.

Gomez is just one of the many, many prominent sports media figures lost in the past year. But he was an exceptionally notable figure, and someone who was so instrumental to decades of baseball coverage. And even more than many, he always appeared to take time to pay it forward for younger journalists. ESPN/NPR’s Howard Bryant shared an incredible story last week about how Gomez interceded for him after then-Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa went after him:

That sort of support from rival reporters is far too uncommon, and it goes to show just how exceptional a person Gomez was. And it’s great to see that his legacy will be honored with this new foundation, and that it will focus on supporting young people looking to get into journalism. Gomez will long be remembered, and this foundation in his honor will certainly produce some other journalists worthy of remembrance in their own right.

[The Arizona Republic]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.