BOSTON -- Any game between the A's and Red Sox typically doubles as a reunion of sorts, with a large pocket of players holding ties to both organizations.
Perhaps no other player, though, has tugged at the hearts of each fan base in so short a time as Jonny Gomes, who has quickly endeared himself to Boston's devoted fan base just months after leaving Oakland, where he was also beloved.
Gomes was missing from Fenway Park for the opener of his new team's three-game set against his old team on Monday, as he was with family to welcome the birth of his daughter, Capri. But he was in Boston's lineup Tuesday, batting eighth as the designated hitter.
"I used to look forward to playing Oakland because it was the team I grew up rooting for," Gomes said. "I was all about the green and gold. But kind of like it was with the Rays and in Cincinnati, when you go to the playoffs with teams like that, you form life-long relationships. It's not like I just played with Seth Smith. It's this bond, it's way different. So this is a different situation for me, playing them now."
Gomes said he "absolutely" wanted to remain in Oakland upon season's end last year, but the A's decision to bring in outfielder Chris Young quickly removed any chance of that happening. Gomes ultimately signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox in November and in the months that have passed, he's very much taken to the Boston community.
"Being able to share a batting cage, a clubhouse with these guys, seeing their work ethic and how professional these guys are, it's awesome," he said.
But he still planned on setting aside time to share a few moments with his former teammates.
"It'll be really cool to see all those guys, especially since the way things ended," he said. "I really didn't get a chance to say goodbye."
Gomes went 1-for-2 in the A's 13-0 win.