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Tahoe man’s brother playing in World Series

Tim Parsons

Chris Gomez proved something to his big brother after he crashed his bike.

Despite two black eyes and scrapes across his forehead, nose and upper lip, the 8-year-old was in the lineup the next afternoon for his first Little League picture day.

“It didn’t even phase him; that’s when I knew he was a gamer,” said Danny Gomez, who is eight years his brother’s senior.

Nearly 20 years later, Chris Gomez is still in front of a camera wearing a baseball uniform. He’s the starting shortstop in the World Series for the San Diego Padres.

Danny Gomez and his girlfriend, Lark Calderon, are in their Sierra Tract home watching Game 1 on television.

On a coffee table are 8-by-10 pictures Danny took on the field of the Padres celebrating their playoff series win against Houston. Danny has his own darkroom in the house, and Lark, who is a painter, has a studio set up in the kitchen. But all the attention now is on the game.

In his first at bat, Chris gets a base hit. “My brother’s batting 1.000 in the World Series, you can’t beat that,” Danny said.

Moments later Gomez scores the Padres’ first run and the euphoria grows.

Watching veteran Wally Joyner come to the plate, Danny remarks, “So many guys have been around so long and they are playing in their first World Series. My brother’s lucky to be there that young.”

It wasn’t too long ago when Danny, who played high school and college ball, was honing his whiffle ball pitching skills by striking out his sibling.

“I never let him win,” Danny said. “He was my Washington Generals. I even beat him when he was on the Tigers.”

But Danny is quick to his little brother.

In the fifth inning, Gomez makes a nice grab and throw to get his team out of a jam. Announcer Tim McCarver says, “What Gomez lacks in range, he makes up for with sure hands.”

Before McCarver finishes the sentence, however, Danny is groaning in disgust. He’s heard the conventional book on his brother more than a few times.

“He’s improved his range a lot,” Danny argues. “He gets to a lot more balls now, and it’s not because of his speed. It’s his knowledge of the game. Once those announcers get an initial report on someone, they stay with it.”

Chris’ talent has not gone unnoticed by the Padres, who are paying him $1.1 million this season. He had just 12 errors this season, fewest of any starting shortstop in the National League. Offensively, despite batting eighth in the lineup – a spot that doesn’t often see a lot of strikes – he batted .267.

In six World Series at bats, he has three hits, including a triple, has scored two runs and he’s played errorless defense.

Back to Game 1. Tony Gwynn and Greg Vaughn hit back-to-back home runs and Danny raises his arms in triumph before settling back and saying, “God, what a relief.”

But the Yankees, who won more games this year than any team ever has in the American League, prove to be too tough.

New York scores seven runs in the seventh inning to go ahead and on to certain victory.

Although discouraged, Danny remains poised. After all, the World Series pressure is on his brother, not him. “Wasn’t it 5-2 about five minutes ago?” he deadpanned.

However, Danny does carry some weight on his shoulders. He is in San Diego tonight for Game 3, and Chris has given him the job of deciding which friends and family members get tickets.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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