Carlos Gomez is having a rotten season, overall. He’s batting just .220, and his OPS sits at the always alarming .666 mark. The batting average is the worst of his career; the OPS is his lowest mark since 2010. But he does lead the majors in one useful statistic: Gomez and Brandon Nimmo have each been hit by 17 pitches in 2018, the most in baseball. Gomez also led the American League in HBP in 2017, when he ate 19 pitches as a member of the Texas Rangers. He crowds the hell out of the plate, and that’s just what happens, and frankly, with the way he’s swinging the bat these days, he could help his team by leaning into a few more inside pitches.
Saturday night Gomez took a 95-mph heater off his side in the bottom of the sixth inning, with two down and a man on first. Mere mortals would certainly crumple and scream if a major league fastball found their ribs—Gomez, toughened up by experience, decided to make a joke out of it:
I’m not sure his weird, graceful dive fooled anyone, but Gomez certainly seemed to enjoy it, grinning and chuckling on his way to first. The thing that’s very cool about Carlos Gomez is how much apparent fun he is having playing baseball for a living: he enjoys a good, elaborate video bomb; he turns a hunk of dropped gum into a delightful little joke; he knows some cool ways to celebrate a dinger; he is not above karate-ing an outfield wall; he’s got an emphatic celebration ready for after a highlight catch; he can even find enjoyment in his own miserable failure as a relief pitcher. Baseball is more fun when the players have fun with it.