At first blush, it sounds a bit like psycho-babble and empty of true impact, calling an athlete a "high character guy." So you can give him your wallet and he won't steal your money? Yeah, OK. Great. Whatever. You can trust him with your credit cards. That's nice but, really, how much is a high character guy really worth?
In Jonny Gomes' case, that would be $10 million. Which shows you how precious the commodity is in pro baseball. Yes, a commodity. An asset. A high character guy unites a clubhouse, dissolves factions, promotes responsibility. No team in baseball has so routinely ignored that kind of player and that kind of attitude than the Boston Red Sox, yes, the Red Sox, 25 players taking 25 different cabs after a game. As if 25 players were speaking 25 different languages with no translator and no inclination to find one.
Or, as the Sept. 21 headline over an MLB.com story read: "2012 Boston Red Sox Are One of the Most Dysfunctional Teams in MLB History."
That's why the Red Sox went after Petaluma's Gomes the way a thirsty man goes after a bottle of water. Gotta have it. Need it. Won't make it without it. Talk to any big-league manager and he'll tell you the same thing: His biggest challenge is getting his players to play for teammates first, themselves second.
"I am someone who wears his emotions on his sleeve," said Gomes, an outfielder and designated hitter. "I am someone who is just as happy when a teammate hits a home run as when I hit one. I am someone who has the back of his teammates. I will defend them. You have to be a bit of a chameleon, able to handle different personalities from different cultures, especially now that baseball is global."
Money has changed all of pro sports but never so dramatically as baseball, where the average player's salary in 2012 was $3,440,000, according to CBSSports.com. With nearly every player his own mini-corporation, the tendency can be for a player to pay more attention to what a teammate makes, as opposed to how he plays.
"I am surprised no one has picked this up: Jonny is the perfect teammate," said Gomes' brother, Joey. "If you want him to be team captain, he'll do it. If you want him to be a role player, he'll do it. If you want him to bat leadoff, he'll do it. Jonny never complains about playing time. Jonny can't understand the whining. You're still getting paid, aren't you? You're still on the team, aren't you?"
That selflessness is at the core of Gomes' appeal. Of course, if Gomes' value was just inspiration, the Red Sox would have signed motivational speaker Tony Roberts to play left field. Gomes can hit rocket shots, not as often as he would like but enough that he is a game changer and someone to be respected. Which leads to a most obvious question — with Gomes' short answer a relevant insight into his personality.
How does Gomes resist the temptation of trying to send a ball over Fenway's Green Monster, the left-field wall only 310 feet from home plate?
Pot around Sonoma County
Three Sonoma County cannabis dispensaries will be open for adult-use sales on Jan. 1, 2018:
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
785 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol
SPARC/Peace in Medicine
10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
6771 Sebastopol Ave. #100, Sebastopol
Mercy Wellness of Cotati
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
7950 Redwood Drive #8, Cotati
Pot around Sonoma County
Sebastopol: Adult-use and medical cannabis sales take place at the city’s two dispensaries. Manufacturing and other aspects of the business will be considered in 2018. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.
Cotati: Allows adult-use and medical cannabis sales at its sole dispensary.
Santa Rosa: Medical marijuana businesses are allowed in the city. Santa Rosa will allow sales of adult-use cannabis on Jan. 19. Indoor cultivation for personal use is allowed.
Cloverdale: Up to two cannabis dispensaries are allowed in the city, although there are none currently. Manufacturing, distribution and cultivation business permit applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Petaluma: Allows cannabis delivery services and some cannabis manufacturing but has not allowed any dispensaries inside city limits.
Windsor: Dispensaries and other types of cannabis businesses as well as outdoor cultivation is banned in Windsor. Residents must get a town permit for personal-use cultivation, which is only allowed to occur indoors.
Sonoma city: Cannabis cultivation, indoor and outdoor, is banned but the rule will be reconsidered December 2018. Delivery businesses with headquarters outside the city must acquire a city permit to conduct deliveries in the city. Some personal cultivation is allowed but residents must comply with a variety of city requirements like security systems.
Sonoma County: Rules are in places for medical marijuana businesses and supervisors will consider rules for adult use in 2018.
Rohnert Park: Does not all manufacturing, distributing or selling marijuana within city limits.
Healdsburg: Prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.
Find more in-depth cannabis news, culture and politics at EmeraldReport.com, authoritative marijuana coverage from the PD.