Baseball is way more than just a game for the Gomes brothers. It has long been at the core of their everyday lives.
As Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes continues his 12th major league season, his brother, Joey, serves as the general manager and head coach of the Healdsburg Prune Packers of California’s Golden State Collegiate Baseball League. The two frequently stay in touch, and Jonny even credits his brother and their healthy childhood competition as being instrumental in his big league success.
“He totally paved the way for me for everything this game has brought me, and everything that I didn’t know this game could bring me,” Jonny Gomes told the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton this week. “He played on all the summer leagues, he traveled a long way. He was the first one in the whole family to get a college scholarship and to go to college.”
Joey Gomes, who is one year older than Jonny, doesn’t want to accept any credit for his brother’s successful MLB career, although he acknowledged the pair always approached baseball with a similar mindset.
“I didn’t think I was paving any ways,” Joey Gomes told Britton. “The home runs that he would hit, that’s all him. If there was anything you would want to pin on me, he probably just saw the way I played and said, ‘Well, I should probably run hard like that. I should probably show up every day like that.’ But he did it; he did it to the nth degree.”
Joey Gomes, who retired from independent baseball three years ago, describes baseball as being “the glue” and “an outlet” during the brothers’ chaotic childhood. The game motivated them like nothing else, and it wasn’t long before the two emerged as budding stars in Petaluma, Calif., feeding off each other every step of the way.
“It was probably the healthiest competition you could have,” Jonny Gomes said. “He was really pulling for me, and I was really pulling for him. It wasn’t who could hit the ball farther or who can get on more.”
“We solely used each other as motivation to get better,” Joey Gomes said. “It’s not tough to believe; it’s literally what happened. Otherwise, we would have killed each other.”
Joey Gomes’ playing career never panned out, though he and Jonny played together briefly in the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2002. However, it’s possible Jonny Gomes might never have made it where he is now without the extra push of his older brother.
“He’s probably my best resource that I have,” Jonny Gomes said.