Summer League Swings … Jay Gonzalez
08/08/2011 – Auburn Media Relations
Written by Mae Margaret Davis Auburn Media Relations
If you took a trip to Plainsman Park during the 2010 season on a day when Jay Gonzalez got to bat, you would hear something slightly of the ordinary. Each member of the baseball squad chooses his own batting song to be played as he makes his way to the plate, but Gonzalez’s is no ordinary song. When Gonzalez grabs a bat, his own customized rap song can be heard through the loud speakers.
“I do nothing with music,” Gonzalez admits. “(The artist) is just a really good friend of mine who me and my family are supporting in his rap career. I thought this would be a fun and exciting way to kind of get his music out there a little. We wanted a creative way to get his music out in other places, so I asked him to do a walk up song for me.”
The upcoming season will be no different. Gonzalez says there are already plans for another batting song for 2012.
“A lot of people were curious about my song, and their curiosity and enjoyment is why I’m going to do a part two to my walk up song,” Gonzalez said. “I’m actually going to see if I can get this one out and available on YouTube at least. A lot of people were asking me where the first song was, and my friend and I are actually the only two people who have a copy of it.”
Gonzalez says keeping things new and different is a reflection of his personality and the ways he expresses himself.
“I don’t like to follow,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a trend-setter, I guess what people would say. I like to do my own thing and switch it up. I don’t like people getting used to seeing what they see every day. I just have fun and enjoy life.”
Over the summer, Gonzalez has been enjoying life on the baseball field once again. A member of the Harrisonburg Turks out of Harrisonburg, Va., Gonzalez joined the Valley Baseball League and became one of Harrisonburg’s best players.
Finishing the summer with a .344, Gonzalez collected 54 hits over 48 games and led the league in runs scored with 45. The Turks’ starting center fielder also stole 32 bases in 38 attempts, good enough for a share of the league lead.
Having started only three games at Auburn in his freshman season, Gonzalez was not immediately prepared for the summer schedule, but used the pressure to improve his game.
“It was a hard adjustment at first,” Gonzalez said. “I think my numbers at the beginning of the summer season showed that it was hard. My timing wasn’t there. I wasn’t used to playing nine innings every day so my body was mentally and physically fatigued. As the season went on, my body got stronger and I continued to work out, so now it’s been a great experience for me mentally and physically.”
Even having performed so well throughout the season in Harrisonburg, Gonzalez still doesn’t see himself in the spotlight, and says he simply does whatever he can to help propel his team.
“I just see myself as a sparkplug, as in I’m going to do the little things,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to draw a walk and turn that walk into a double by stealing. Anything I can do just to spark my team and get a little energy is basically what I do.”
Gonzalez has had the opportunity to spend his summer with fellow Auburn teammate Blake Austin and recognized the value in being familiar and comfortable with a teammate both on and off the field.
“To actually have somebody from my school who knows me and I can enjoy this experience with has made it a lot easier to meet and interact with a whole bunch of new people,” Gonzalez said. “Having someone there who I know is going to be 100 percent honest with me has made it a whole lot easier. Rather than just saying something that I want to hear, he’ll tell me the truth. We also have a special chemistry on the field. I know what Blake’s going to do before everyone knows. As a center fielder, I’m always prepared for the back-door pick at second base, and I’m always ready for the things people don’t expect.”
With the summer season drawing to a close, Gonzalez is encouraged that he will be able to translate much of what he has learned in Harrisonburg over to Auburn when the Tigers return to practice in the fall.
“I 100 percent think that I will be able to take back what I’ve learned here and accomplish the same things in Auburn,” Gonzalez said. “Keeping my game at its peak right now is about me wanting to be willing to go to the cages and work on my game; having Coach Link (Jarrett) or Coach (Ty) Megahee throw to me so I can constantly see somewhat of a live arm, and so I can keep my timing at a decent eye at least until we get back to scrimmaging.”
Looking back on his experience over the summer, Gonzalez says he is thankful for the opportunity to improve, but always tries to remember to appreciate the sport and what it means to him.
“The way I grew up playing ball, baseball is only fun if you’re enjoying the game,” Gonzalez said. “If you’re not enjoying it, it’s just a long boring sport. I like to smile and have fun and enjoy what I’m doing. I see it as I’m blessed to even play another day of baseball where a lot of people would not be in my shoes. I just try to live it up and enjoy every moment I have of it.”