Sonny Gray, 33, the Minnesota Twins’ starter in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, was emotional as he made his first fall baseball start in six years.
“I said it a couple years ago, and I said it a couple days ago, but I still believe it with all my heart,” Gray said in an interview at Target Field, home of Game 4. It’s the only reason I’m still playing baseball,” he said, adding that his fall start was meaningful.
Gray made two Division Series starts for the Oakland Athletics in 2013. In Game 2 of the series against the Detroit Tigers, he threw a dominant eight innings of four-hit ball with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Four years later, in 2017, he made two starts again for the New York Yankees.
So far, that’s all of his fall baseball appearances. In 2020, his team, the Cincinnati Reds, made it to the postseason, but he didn’t get a chance to pitch. It’s a humble fall record for a man of his reputation.
“I’m a very lucky guy,” he says. I played on a good team early in my career and was able to go to the postseason. I got to experience throwing in the postseason and have some success. I never wanted to spend a season on a losing team,” he reflected on his career.
“As a player, this is everything,” he said of his move to Minnesota via trade in March of last year. I’m really excited. I’m ready for the challenge,” he said.
“You have to take all the outside stuff out of the equation,” said the Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, who is 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 games this season. At the end of the day, it’s all about controlling your breathing and throwing each pitch according to plan until the manager takes the ball away,” he said of his approach to the game.
Gray, who was a young man of twenty-three when he first appeared in the postseason, is now a father of two.
The real reason he so desperately wants an opportunity in fall ball is family.온라인바카라
“To be able to show my sons how I play, to be able to play with them, to be able to show them around the clubhouse, to be able to go to the postseason and win, that’s what still drives me to play,” he said, adding that his two sons are the driving force behind him.
Infielder Kyle Palmer, who has played with Gray since his Cincinnati days, said he is “as focused as I’ve ever seen him. He’s a completely different pitcher this year. He understands what it means to him and what it means to the team,” said Farmer, who appreciates the change in his teammate.