The Cincinnati Reds' outfielder presented Dayton Daily News baseball writer Hal McCoy with a pine-tar-covered bat on Thursday. It had a hand-scrawled inscription on the black barrel and an intriguing story behind it.
The Reds honored McCoy on the field before their 6-5 victory over Houston on Wednesday. The Dayton Daily News baseball writer is retiring after his 37th season covering the Reds, now that the newspaper decided to stop covering the team.
Gomes passed McCoy in the dugout before the ceremonies and chatted briefly.
"He told me he'd try to hit a home run for me," McCoy said.
It was just a pleasantry, not a prediction. He delivered anyway, breaking a 3-for-24 slump with a solo homer in his first at-bat, his 20th of the season.
When McCoy walked into the clubhouse for pregame interviews on Thursday, Gomes presented him with the bat he used for the homer. Gomes wrote on the barrel: "To Hal, thanks for the support. HR 20 on Hal McCoy Day." He added the date.
Gomes made it clear this wasn't a case of calling his shot and delivering.
"I didn't tell him much," Gomes said. "I don't think it was like a fairy story. I hit a [homer], it was his day and I gave him the bat I hit it with."
Gomes said he's only given away one other game-used bat during his seven-year career with Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.
"My high school coach took a long time to come watch me play," Gomes said. "He watched me play in 2005 and I hit three home runs in that game and I gave him the bat for that."
Gomes is impressed that McCoy spent 37 years covering baseball.
"Sure is a long time," Gomes said. "He deserves a lot more than one of my bats, that's for sure."
By: JOE KAY Jonny Gomes didn't exactly promise a home run, but came through anyway.