Hearing Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez talk about baseball and his positive impact on the sport in this state is enough to adequately fill a sports talk radio show.
Eye on the Ball at KVOI (1030-AM) took it a step further by making it a reality show with Gonzalez on Thursday night.
Co-host Jay Gonzales told Gonzalez the story of meeting him about 20 years ago when the Diamondbacks had their spring training operations in Tucson.
Jay and his family and friends met Gonzalez during the PGA tournament at Tucson National. A party was taking place on a Friday night at the Grand Slam Tent. They were sitting at adjacent tables.
“Somebody in my family, I was there with my brothers and my wife and a bunch of friends of ours … somebody got the idea to see if you would call my sister (Elaine) because she was a huge fan of yours,” Jay said. “Actually, I’m just going to embarrass her some more. She thought that both you and Steve Finley were really hot.
“Either my brother or my wife went up to you and asked you if you would call my sister and say, ‘Hi.’ And you did. You were great. You said, ‘Oh yeah, sure.’ So we dialed the phone for you and handed you the phone … the phone rang. Well, she was not home. You left a really nice voice mail … but at the end of the voice mail … you said, ‘I’ll talk to you later’ and then you hung up. So the running joke in the family is that she’s been waiting for the call back for about 20 years.”
Gonzalez laughed and responded, “You’ll have to put me in touch with her one day and maybe we can finish that conversation.”
That’s when Jay sprung the surprise that his sister was waiting on the line to talk with him on the radio.
“I couldn’t believe it when I came home and the answering machine was blinking and I hit play and I just stood there with my mouth hanging open,” Elaine said. “Couldn’t believe that I wasn’t home to take that call. It’s a memento that I still have, I have to say.”
“Well, that’s awesome. I appreciate that,” said Gonzalez, who is now the special assistant to the CEO of the Diamondbacks. “My big thing is I played with a lot of great teammates and I played with a lot of not-so-great teammates. But the thing that I always try to do is make people feel comfortable around me and just kind of show people that I’m normal.”
Here is the interview about this conversation and other baseball-related matters in this uncertain time of COVID-19 (Eye on the Ball can be listened to streamed live on KVOI.com):
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.