When long-time ESPN MLB reporter Pedro Gomez passed away suddenly at 58 in early February, there were plenty of tributes from the many people he’d impacted, plus the launch of a foundation in his name to support journalism scholarships. But Tuesday saw a particularly notable tribute to Gomez from his son Rio, a Boston Red Sox prospect (currently preparing for their minor-league camp) who was interviewed by ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and Tim Kurkjian on their national broadcast of a Red Sox spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays:
"It meant the world to me."
Rio Gomez talks about what it was like to have his late father, Pedro Gomez, support him in the stands ❤ pic.twitter.com/vMFMxKYgys
— ESPN (@espn) March 2, 2021
Here’s a transcription of Gomez’s comments there on the support he received from his dad:
“It will always be embedded in me. …It meant the world to me. There were times, obviously, where I’d be struggling, and whatever he could do via the phone, obviously when I was in Arizona for spring training or somewhere on the East Coast for a minor league affiliate, he’d always try to help as best as he could over the phone. And I think there were obviously times where he realized no matter what he could say through the phone, him showing up in person was what I’m going to need. There was a time when I was in extended spring training in 2018, I was having a tough time, I was really upset, I felt like my career was just slipping away, and out of the blue, he just showed up in Fort Myers and surprised me. And he was there for a week, and it was everything I needed just to be able to turn everything around.”
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has more on what Gomez said during the rest of this interview:
“The connection and the love that we had that tied us together with baseball was second to none. He was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter. There was times I didn’t even believe in myself during my career and he was there to push me with that belief.
…There were many times he was more excited about my own career than I was. It was always great having him by my side like that.”
It’s cool to see ESPN taking the opportunity of a Red Sox spring training broadcast to talk to the younger Gomez about what his father meant to him. Pedro Gomez made an incredible impact on many people, but it’s neat to hear about what he was like as a father from his son. This was a smart broadcasting move, and one that was both a good fit for this game and a nice acknowledgement from ESPN of someone who was so important to their MLB coverage.