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Smith: Gomes brothers' get-together not your normal family reunion

Published: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.

Sonoma County's Joey Gomes flew to St. Louis this weekend to see his kid brother.

But he figures it's unlikely the two of them will share a dinner or a beer, or that they'll have so much as minute alone. Joey is well aware that his brother and his pals have their hands full about now.

“They're trying to win a World Series.”

Joey is the sought-after North Bay baseball trainer and coach, former Casa Grande and Santa Clara University star, 10-year pro player — and No. 1 fan of outfielder Jonny Gomes, playing his first year with the Boston Red Sox.

Joey hated to leave the kids he trains, but how could he pass up a chance to see games 3, 4 and 5 of this series, a huge one even if his brother wasn't in it?

The Red Sox vs. the Cardinals.

“You can't have a more monumental fan base,” Joey said. “And Jonny knows that.”

Joey has spoken enough with his brother, a natural, scrappy leader who played last year with the Oakland A's, to know that he's working to deal with the pressure of the World Series.

“There's definitely a sense of urgency among him and the rest of the players,” Joey said before flying to St. Louis. “But they have to treat it like it's just another game.”

I apologized to Joey for not knowing if this is his brother's first Series. Not really, he said.

Jonny played for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. And though he was no longer on the roster when the Rays entered that year's Series against Philadelphia, Joey said Rays players joined in an unprecedented vote to have Jonny and his energy in the dugout with them.

Though Joey's focus is entirely on his brother and the Series this weekend, he does have a bit of exciting baseball news of his own:

He just signed on as general manager and coach of the reborn Healdsburg Prune Packers — the newest team in the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League.

More about this development in Sonoma County summer baseball later.

RALPH PLAYS, TOO: The mention of Ralph Leef's name will pop a smile onto your face if you recall the decades that this athletic gentleman worked as a sportswriter and editor at the PD.

Well, Ralph, too, is in the World Series — in the over-65 bracket of the Men's Senior Baseball League fall classic in Phoenix.

At 66, Ralph is normally one of the oldest guys on the field when he plays with the 55-and-older Silver Sox of the Redwood Empire Baseball League.

But on the Sonoma Oaks, 65-plus wooden-bat hardball team in Phoenix, he's practically a kid. All this week he's been making plays and stealing bases, having a ball.

Other locals on the team include Dick Giberti, Al Surges and Don Powers. Let's check on their scores in the Series: 25-0. 25-4. 24-5. 22-4. 16-5.

The old guys are doing all right.

Ralph said after a game at a splendid spring-training park in Arizona, “I'm going to bottle this experience and take a sip every month until I come back next year.”

NO FIRST E: The long-ago Petaluma fire chief mentioned in the tale about firehouse horse Black Bart and the city's first professional fireman was Henry J. Myers.

The Myers family has been important to Petaluma a long time and they never spelled their name Meyers, as I mistakenly did.

NOT EVEN ONE member of Santa Rosa's Planning Commission voted to allow longtime Santa Rosa Avenue used-car dealer George Dibs to relocate his city-disrupted business to where Bob's Travel Center is now, at Santa Rosa Avenue and Maple Street.

City Hall and some neighbors don't want vehicle sales at the corner, though that's been its use at least since the late Bob Lambert opened his Auto Mart there in 1947.

Time will tell if the uptown plans for that stretch of the avenue come to be. In the meantime, hold a good thought for the honorable George Dibs to find a good spot for his lot.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)

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