What’s up with Jonny Gomes?

Jonny Gomes is one of our favorite players in the Reds organization. He’s got the hair, the goatee, the tats, and he’s just a really good guy. When we went to see Homer Bailey’s 2011 debut, we watched as a little three year old boy with a seven-inch mohawk got Jonny’s attention, with the help of his dad. The little boy wanted Jonny to see his mohawk – instead of ignoring requests to turn around (like most left fielders do), Jonny turned around and waved at the little boy, patted his own head to acknowledge the little dude’s ‘hawk, and tossed a ball to him.

“Hello young lad!”

We met Jonny the next day in Chicago, and when we told him how cool it was that he did that, he spoke animatedly about it. We chatted with him a little more, and Jonny took a picture with our brother. That’s when Jonny Gomes confirmed our suspicions that while he looks good and plays (?) pretty well, he really is an awesome guy.

Our dad started talking about Jonny’s slump lately, and we met his skepticism with blissful ignorance when he suggested that Jonny might be on his way out. I said, “So what? He’s slumping. They didn’t do anything to Drew Stubbs last year when he was 0 for June.” Dad said, “Yeah, but Jonny’s been 0 for September, 0 for April, 0 for May. He’s hitting .162 and….” [This is where I  tuned out because that Frontline commercial was on where that little puppy tries to start some kind of revolution. That commercial is so cute.] “Now that you’re writing about the Reds, you have to stop thinking like a fan,” he finished.

No fleas on this little guy.

Anyway, we at Rockin’ Redlegs believe that one of the things that separates us from any other Reds blog is that we’re all about what life is like for fans. We’re not analysts, and while we do some discussions of specific games and stats, we’re mostly about colorful, upbeat human interest stories designed to make our readers laugh and notice things about the Reds they’ve never considered. That being said, we do want to talk a bit about what’s going on with Jonny because what kind of journalists would we be if we didn’t report the good along with the bad?

Jonny’s been looked over in the lineup lately – Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey have taken his spot in left field more than a few times this season. He started off the season leading the teams in walks, which injured his batting average considerably. The main argument for Jonny’s slump is that he’s only hitting .186. Average isn’t everything. In 36 games, Jonny is fifth in the team in runs and RBIs with 18 and 17 respectively. The four players ahead of him in both spots are Stubbs, Votto, Bruce, and Phillips. He’s third in home runs with 6 (He’s hit more HRs than Votto) and second in stolen bases with 5 (Stubbs is ahead of him by 8 bases, but really, that kid is some kind of freak of nature. We think he’s part cheetah.)

Drew’s dad, Phil Stubbs.

Jonny can hit. He’s made that absolutely clear throughout his career in the Majors. Jonny has never had a particularly high average. His best batting average is from 2005, when he hit a .282 on the season. His lowest season was 2008, when he hit a .182 in Tampa. His career batting average is .244 in nine seasons. In those nine seasons, Jonny has recorded 529 hits, 320 runs, and 110 home runs.

So Jonny’s having a rough start to 2011, so what? He’ll be ok. He’s got some things he needs to work through – he’s very aggressive with his swings and seems to try to hit anything that comes at him – this is why he’s struck out 37 times this season (Drew Stubbs takes the #1 spot in strikeouts with 42). He’s 5 for 29 in his last ten games, but Jay Bruce is 9 for 39 in his last ten and you don’t see anyone complaining about Bruce, do you? Hell, Joey Votto is 12 for 38 in his last ten so really, what does it take for everyone to give Jonny a break? He’s the fifth best player on the team. We’re comparing him to all the other guys on the team to prove that although Jonny’s had a bit of a rough time so far, he’s not really all that far off from our best players.

So, what do you think? Just give Jonny a break, huh? We think that he’s doing fine and he will be fine and Jonny Gomes is one of the driving forces that makes this team great.

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