ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Rio Gomez debuts at World Baseball Classic as late father Pedro foresaw

Mar 14, 2023, 3:01 PM

Pitcher Rio Gomez #29 of Team Colombia gestures as he leaves the game against Team Canada during th...

Pitcher Rio Gomez #29 of Team Colombia gestures as he leaves the game against Team Canada during the seventh inning of the World Baseball Classic Pool C game at Chase Field on March 14, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Rio Gomez making his World Baseball Classic debut for Colombia on Tuesday held the on-paper significance: A Desert Vista High School product who went to play college ball for the Arizona Wildcats got to play in the ballpark he grew up attending.

But the importance that Tuesday held went way beyond a return to Chase Field.

His late father, former ESPN and Arizona Republic baseball reporter Pedro Gomez, had told Colombia pitching coach Walter Miranda in 2017 that his son would play in the next iteration of the World Baseball Classic.

The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan included Gomez’s foresight in a profile of Rio Gomez’s baseball journey and the impact his father had on it leading into the WBC.

It was the spring of 2017, and Pedro was covering the World Baseball Classic in Miami. One day, he saw Colombia pitching coach Walter Miranda. “My son is going to play for you guys in the next one,” Pedro told him. Miranda, who also coached in the minors with the Red Sox, wrote that off as typical sports dad bravado. Boston drafted Rio that summer, and Miranda didn’t put two and two together until he saw father and son talking the next spring.

Over the last six years, Miranda has watched Rio blossom into a professional. Colombia named him to its roster in January. “That was his dad’s wish from his heart,” Miranda marvels. Pedro was right.

So when Gomez took the mound Tuesday, there were emotions abound.

MLB reporters who had worked shoulder-to-shoulder alongside Pedro Gomez could not bring anything impartial to the moment.

 

Gomez went 1.1 innings in relief with two strikeouts, a walk and no runs allowed against Canada.

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