Mariners’ Marco Gonzales opens up about his up and down 2021

Mar 29, 2022, 11:50 AM
Mariners Marco Gonzales...
Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales reacts after the end of an inning on Aug. 29, 2021. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The 2021 season for Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales had its fair share of ups and downs.

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He had an uncharacteristically rough start to the regular season and even had a short stint on the injured list before coming back with a stellar final two months, including six outings in August that included a complete game, five quality starts, and a 1.58 ERA for the month.

Gonzales’ season mirrored the ups and downs he went through off the field last year, but there is no comparing his season to the events in his personal life.

As the 30-year-old left-hander shared with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Monday, Gonzales and his family were grieving the unexpected loss of his mother-in-law when the season began, something that came while Gonzales and his wife were expecting their first child.

“Really, really tough year last year. We lost my mother-in-law, my wife’s mom, right before spring training last year, someone who was really special to me,” Gonzales said. “(She) basically treated me like a son, as well. She had a rare neurological disease and passed suddenly before we thought it was time. That really threw us for a loop, and my wife was six months pregnant at the time, (so) you could imagine the kind of turmoil that we were kind of going through, that she was going through, and all the while trying to prepare and compete for a season.”

Gonzales said it wasn’t until his daughter was born in June that he started to find his footing again.

“My mind wasn’t in the right place (at the beginning of the season),” he said. “(I) haven’t talked about this a lot, but I just felt like I didn’t have my feet under me at all. I was trying to hit the ground running, and trying to go out and compete against the best in the world when your heart and mind aren’t completely in it, it’s not really going to go the way you want… I wasn’t 100% in both places – at home or at the field. And it wasn’t really until my daughter was born that, you know, that void was kind of filled for all of us.”

Tough personal matters that athletes are going through are rarely apparent to people who only see them on the field, and Gonzales opened up about being in that situation last year.

“It’s life stuff, it still happens to you, and sometimes we don’t get to share that because we’re in the public eye, (but) private life sometimes is heavy as well,” he said. “… You don’t get that chance, especially as an athlete, to come out and make an excuse about, you know, ‘I’m not prepared to compete today.’ You kind of just have to muscle up and go get it. And especially as a man, I think there’s a lot of times where as men we’re not as upfront about our feelings and what we’re going through. That’s kind of how we’re wired, essentially. So I’ve tried to take a step back from that this offseason and really just try to root into how I’m feeling and how I’m doing. I think I’m in a better place.”

And that’s both on and off the field.

“This season, I’d say our hearts are still heavy,” Gonzales said about his family, “but we definitely are more prepared for this year, and just watching our baby girl grow up is very fulfilling. I would have to say that our family has been through a lot but we’re going to be stronger for it. ”

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