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ASU coach Tracy Smith thankful for friendship with Pedro Gomez

Tracy Smith and Pedro Gomez lived so close to one another that the Arizona State baseball coach said he could hit the late reporter’s house with a golf ball if he had a good enough swing.

Ever since Smith made the move from Indiana to Arizona to coach the Sun Devils, he built a strong relationship with the famed baseball writer and Arizona resident, who died unexpectedly Sunday at the age of 58.

Smith and Gomez had not seen each other since the start of the initial coronavirus lockdown, but met up when Smith’s wife Jaime recently ran into Gomez’s wife Sandy. They had the opportunity to have dinner together last Saturday, the coach said in a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“My wife and I, and Sandy and Pedro, spent all last Saturday together and just talked about life, work, baseball, family and about his cooking,” Smith said. “Less than 24 hours after that, he’s gone.”

Even with handfuls of memories and years of friendship, Smith said his favorite moments with Gomez were the last ones they shared together.

“I’ve known him for seven years since I’ve been here. … Truly my favorite memories with him were last Saturday night learning about him as a human,” Smith said.

Smith mourned the loss of his friend and was not sure how his final moments with Gomez came to fruition. Despite his shock, Smith could not help but be thankful.

“While I am devastated and tremendously upset at the loss of a friend, I am thankful that I had that opportunity,” Smith said. “I’m not a very affectionate guy, but as we were leaving, I hugged Sandy and Pedro. I’m so happy we had the night and shared that conversation.

“Life is very precarious and we should not take it for granted. I am so thankful that we had last Saturday evening.”

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