Gonzalezes making it a family affair
Team Mexico brothers have large following in San Diego
SAN DIEGO -- His tiny jersey reads Padres across the chest and the pinstriped baseball pants fit just right. The Caribbean Series jacket he wears is the perfect size and the glove he carries looks just like the model the big boys use.When Josue David Gonzalez grows up, he's going to be a ballplayer like his grandfather, David, his father, David Jr., and his big league uncles, Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez. But, for now, the 5-year-old is content sitting in Grandpa's lap and enjoying the family pastime from the stands at PETCO Park. It's time for Uncle Edgar and Uncle Adrian to shine in San Diego, the city in which they grew up, and for Mexico, the country they love. The World Baseball Classic is in town. "Mexico is my country, and to see my sons out there wearing those jerseys is a real joy," David Gonzalez Sr. said. "They have baseball in their heart. My family is very, very proud." When Mexico (2-2 in Round 1) squares off against Korea (3-1 in Round 1) in the second round of Classic play on Sunday night, it's hard to say who will be more excited: the Gonzalez contingent on the field or the group of family in the stands. "They are loving every minute of it," Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "We are enjoying being together like we always do. We are blessed with a great family, and we are very happy to be a part of this and Team Mexico." Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez played together for the Padres last season and during winter ball in Mazatlan, Mexico. The duo teamed up again for the Caribbean Series in February and are together again this week. "Playing for Mexico is the most important thing," Adrian Gonzalez said. "Representing our country and everything we want to represent. We are trying to be the best team possible." Representing is not a problem for the All-Star. Last season, Gonzalez hit .279 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs while playing in all 162 games for the Padres. In his last three seasons, he's averaged 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 97 runs scored. He also won a Gold Glove. In four World Baseball Classic games this year, Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .333 with two home runs and seven RBIs. As for Edgar Gonzalez, the Padres signed him to a Minor League deal before the 2008 season, and he went on to hit .274 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 111 games as a rookie. He considered not participating in the World Baseball Classic because he is trying to earn a spot on the Padres big league club but changed his mind. He has a .250 average with three RBIs in two World Baseball Classic games. "The more I thought about it, I thought about the feeling I would have to play with my brother in this Classic representing Mexico," he said. "It's a huge deal, and it will never happen again." Edgar might be right. Circumstances have already changed for his little brother, Adrian. In the World Baseball Classic in 2006, Adrian split time at first base with Geronimo Gil. Since then, he has become an All-Star, the face of the franchise in San Diego and a leader in the Mexican clubhouse. "This time, I came with the mentality that I am going to be in the middle of the lineup and I'm going to have to produce to help the team," he said. "It's a different feeling for sure. ... For me, actions on the field are more important than words, so I'm going conduct myself the right way and go about it the way I should." His team needs him. Mexico was defeated, 17-7, by Australia in its first game of World Baseball Classic last week in Mexico City. The team rebounded with a 14-3 victory against South Africa and a 16-1 win against Australia in the rematch. Cuba defeated Mexico, 16-4, in the final game of Pool B play. In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, Korea defeated Mexico, 2-1. "It's very important to win the first game because the way the round is set up, if you win you put yourself in a great spot because it's just one more win and you are in," Adrian Gonzalez said. "If you lose, you have to win two back-to-back games against two opponents, so you put yourself in a hole." But win or lose, the Gonzalez family will savor every moment. "These are our roots," said David Gonzalez Jr., the oldest of the three brothers. "I know it's a dream come true for all of us. You get to see your brothers play on TV all the time, but to see them here, where we grew up, is totally different. Playing for San Diego is great, but now they are playing for Mexico, and it's even better."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.