Anthony Gose was doing it all in the regular-season home opener for the Buffalo Bisons, including try to mend fences.
After watching the 23-year-old utilize his great speed, rap out three hits, drive in a run and score three more during the Buffalo Bisons 12-7 opening day Triple-A victory over the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday, Buffalo manager Marty Brown paid his centrefielder quite the compliment.
“I hate to go back to 2004 or whatever, but he’s an all-in type guy,” Brown said of Gose. “He’s here, he realizes he’s here, he’s going to take care of being here until he goes to Toronto. And I’m very proud of the way he’s pushed himself and matured.”
Brown’s 2004 reference was a sly reminder to when another talented up-and-coming centrefielder by the name of Grady Sizemore played for him on the Bisons.
“I love Grady, Grady was a manager’s dream,” Brown said. “This guy’s better than Grady. Nothing against Grady but this kid, he’s the real deal.”
That kind of comparison must have been exciting to hear for Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who was on hand to see the game and personally welcome the Major League team’s new Triple-A affiliate into the fold.
It was just one and done in Buffalo for Sizemore, who was off to the big leagues the following year to play for the Cleveland Indians where he quickly established himself as one of the game’s most exiting young players.
In his first full season with the Tribe he joined Roberto Alomar as the only player in franchise history to record at least 20 doubles, 10 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
A couple more solid seasons followed before injuries started to take their toll. Sizemore parted ways with the Indians following last year in which he didn’t play a game. He is currently a free agent.
A second-round draft pick out of high school in 2008, Gose played in 56 games for the Blue Jays last season, but struggled at the plate, a left-handed bat who hit.233 with 59 strikeouts in 166 at-bats.
“With Gose, it’s more about consistency,” Brown said during an interview on Wednesday. “He needs to solidify himself as an everyday player, which means he needs to hit left-handed pitching much better.
“And quite frankly he’s probably going to have to learn more about that at the Major League level. If you’re a good left-hander in this league you’re usually in the big leagues.”
Gose is obviously enjoying himself in Buffalo, even if the amenities don’t quite measure up to what he grew accustomed to last year during his stint with the Blue Jays.
Quick with a quip and able to poke fun at himself, Gose knows that he is probably just an extended Colby Rasmus slump away from getting recalled.
During the eighth inning of Thursday’s game, Gose ran pell-mell into the centrefield fence at Coca-Cola Field in a futile attempt to track down a home run shot off the bat of Rochester’s Chris Colabello.
A portion of the fence became partially dislodged from the impact and, with no maintenance staff immediately on hand to affect repairs, Gose attempted to fix it himself.
Fellow outfielder Moises Sierra and Ryan Langerhans came over and hoisted Gose up so he could try and reach over the top of the fence to pull it shut. Finally a stadium worker showed up to finish the job before Gose was able to impale himself.
After Thursday’s game, Gose reminded reporters not to get too carried away with what transpired on the field.
“It’s the first game, lets not get carried away,” he said. “I got about 490 at bats left.
“It was a good day. We’re just happy we won, that’s all that really matters right now. If we lose you guys are going to be all over us. We just want to win ballgames here.”
Earlier in an interview, Gose said that he is trying his best to keep the Blue Jays out of his mind so he can focus on improving his game here at Triple-A.
He said he didn’t even try to watch Toronto’s regular-season home opener on Tuesday.
“Little bits and pieces while we were eating dinner, but I didn’t even want to see it,” he said. “I don’t want to see any big league games, I don’t want to see anything unless I’m there, playing in it.”