By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
Tony Gonsolin has always been a cat person, dating to his childhood growing up with animals.
These days, Gonsolin also sports the lowest ERA among all MLB starters and is a mere formality away from being named an All-Star for the first time in his career, with the game to be played at his home stadium in LA
But did Gonsolin ever expect to be pitching in the MLB playoffs with cleats that had cat fur on them? Or to have a World Series promo that dubbed him “Part Man, Part CatNo, no he did not. But this week, he joined “Flippin Bats” to discuss all of it.
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Naturally, I had to ask Gonsolin how he became the cat man in Major League Baseball.
“It all started in 2017 when I was in Rancho [Cucamonga, with the Dodgers’ high-A team]he said.
“The pitching coach, Kip Wells, he saw this $5 shirt with a cat on it, and I showed up one day [in the locker room], and it was in my chair. I think it was a Friday, and the next day, I wore it out to stretch on Caturday.”
And thus, “Caturday” was born.
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To Gonsolin, Caturday is more than just another day of the week. It’s a day to honor the cats.
“It just started, and then every Saturday, I wore that cat shirt because I only had one, and then I just kind of expanded my roster from there,” Gonsolin said with a laugh.
So how many cat shirts does Gonsolin have now? “Probably around 50.”
“When I was 10 years old, if someone told me, ‘In 15 years, you’re going to be known as “The Cat Man” in the big leagues because you wear the cat shirts,’ I would’ve been like, ‘What are you talking about?'” he said. “But I don’t hate it. It’s kinda great.”
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This year for Gonsolin, it’s all clicking. The cat shirts are out every “Caturday,” and every start, Gonsolin is dominating for the Dodgers.
He began the season 10-0 with just 44 hits given up, which put him in pretty elite company.
I like to think it’s because he’s channeling his inner feline.
Check out the full episode of “Flippin’ Bats” to hear our conversation about Gonsolin’s journey to the big leagues, his success this year and acting like a cat in a FOX Sports World Series promo.
Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of theFlippin’ Batspodcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter at @BenVerlander.
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