Pedro Gomez has watched baseball in the most historic and immaculate venues around the country but he’d be hard-pressed to find one where he’s had more fun than Vince Genna Stadium.
Name doesn’t ring a bell?
The 2,500-seat facility which opened in 1946 is home to the Bend Elks and Pedro’s 19-year-old son Rio, who is a left-handed pitcher for the West Coast League team after redshirting last season (bicep tendonitis) at Mesa Community College following his prep career at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee. He’s appeared in four games out of the bullpen, striking out five in 4.1 innings this summer for the Elks.
Some Elks’ notable alums include New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and former Thunderbird High and ASU star, now Oakland A’s infielder Eric Sogard. Even award-winning actor Kurt Russell spent some time with the organization back in 1971 when it was an independent team.
So has Gomez reached out to people inside MLB for counsel on advising his son on and off-the-field without over-stepping the boundary or asking for a “favor” along the way?
“Absolutely,” the ESPN baseball insider told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. All I’m doing is asking for advice.”
Sure, both father and son have the dream of one day sharing a Major League stadium with dad reporting from the dugout and kid pitching and while it may seem like a long shot, don’t completely rule it out just yet especially if Rio can fine-tune certain aspects of his stuff as he matures into his body over the next few years.
“I talked to scouts, I talked to front office people,” Pedro Gomez said. “Really it’s about command and control. He’s a lefty who’s reached 88, 89 [mph]…they look at those kind of numbers and say there’s potential there…there’s probably still another two, three, four miles per-hour in him somewhere.”
For now, all that can wait.
There are too many memories to be made and shared in the picturesque northwest on a field which has been the scene of those special times for close to 70 years.