The great mystery surrounding Adrian Gonzalez‘s whereabouts during the World Series was apparently solved on Wednesday. The veteran first baseman was actually spotted in uniform and on the field at Dodger Stadium ahead of Game 2 against the Houston Astros.
For those who haven’t been following this bizarre story closely, that might not seem like a big deal. It kind of is though considering how wide-ranging the stories have been in regards to where Gonzalez was and what he might be planning to do rather than actually being with his team during the World Series.
After being left off the postseason roster, the veteran first baseman has been mostly absent from the clubhouse. That’s all by his choice. Players who are eligible to be on the postseason roster are welcomed and even encouraged to dress and be present for postseason games. There’s also always the chance of an injury, which could open up a roster spot and an opportunity for one of those players to be promoted.
For Gonzalez though, that wasn’t the case given his back issues. He was nowhere close to the same player in 2017, and had long since ceded his first base job to upstart rookie Cody Bellinger. As a result, he’s elected to stay away, much to the disappointment of teammates like Justin Turner.
“This is Adrian’s deal, not mine,” Turner said before the World Series. “He’s a really good friend of mine. I’m proud of him and happy to be a teammate of his.
“I text him almost every day: We miss you, we want you to be here with us, you should be here enjoying this with us. But I understand.”
The story started getting some national attention though before Game 1 of the World Series. That’s when Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Gonzalez had taken his family on a vacation to Europe. It was one thing for Gonzalez to not be with the team. If was quite another to hear he was leaving the country while his teammates battled in the World Series.
Hours later, the story took another turn.
Gonzalez posted a photo of himself hanging out in the SportsNet Los Angeles studios on Twitter, with the message reading, “Cheering on the guys from the @SportsNetLA studios!”
— Adrián González (@Adrian_ElTitan) October 25, 2017
That’s not exactly Dodger Stadium, but it’s a real long way from Europe.
As it turned out, Gonzalez was in Italy with his family for a short time as they accompanied his wife, who was establishing a new shoe line. He always intended to return for Game 1.
Regardless, some people were still surprised and disappointed that Gonzalez wasn’t with his team at the ballpark. He’s still on the payroll, after all, earning a little over $22 million this season with another $22 million due next year. And despite his predicament this season, he’s been a big part of some really good Dodgers teams in the recent past. He deserves to be and feel a part of this as much as anyone.
But one can’t overlook his understandable disappointment too. Only two active players have appeared in more regular season games without appearing in the World Series than Gonzalez. This was his chance to contribute to a World Series team, but his body didn’t cooperate. That can be a tough pill to swallow, and sometimes being around it only makes the feeling worse.
Whether that was the case or not, Gonzalez was back at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
Adrian Gonzalez is on the field with the Dodgers today. pic.twitter.com/ExjveOpKzG
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) October 25, 2017
There’s no word on whether Gonzalez plans to stick around for the game or travel with the team to Houston for Games 3 through 5, but this should bring some closure to this story. We may never know or fully understand his reasons for staying away, but it’s clear his teammates are comfortable letting him handle the situation however he sees fit. If they’re on board, then there’s no point for anyone else to question his whereabouts moving forward.
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