07/11/05 7:13 PM ET
Gonzalez's Midsummer homecoming
D-Backs All-Star has fond memories of Detroit
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The one-time Tiger, now a five-time All-Star, returned on Monday to the city where he spent the 1998 season and shared his thoughts on a sentimental homecoming.
"[My wife and I] had our triplets here in Detroit," Gonzalez said. "This has always been a pleasant place for me. Even though I played here one year and moved on, we come back every year for Interleague Play. I can't get away from this place."
Not that he's trying to avoid the Motor City. He still has fond memories of Tiger Stadium.
"Tiger Stadium was great for left-handed hitting," he said. "Comerica is an awesome ballpark. Fortunately for us, we have been able to come in here every year and play. It's a lot of fun to be in this city and this will be a special couple of days for me."
Special this time because Gonzalez's son Jacob will be on the field during the pregame ceremonies. That said, the move away -- a trade to Arizona -- turned out to be a great thing as well. All of Gonzalez's appearances in the Midsummer Classic have come wearing a Diamondbacks uniform. He was part of Arizona's World Series championship team in 2001.
"Baseball is a funny thing," Gonzalez said. "At the time I played [in Detroit], I thought I put up decent numbers, but the organization wanted to go in a different direction. They wanted to go with younger players in the outfield and I was not in their plans. Things worked out for me."
As a member of the Tigers, Gonzalez hit .267 with 23 home runs and 71 RBIs. In his first year in Arizona, he hit .336 with 26 homers and 111 RBIs.
So far this season, Gonzalez is batting .283 with 12 dingers and 51 RBIs.
"I've been in a two-week slump and I'm not really where I want to be right now," Gonzalez said. "I hope being around these guys these next couple of days will re-ignite that fire in me so I can get hot again. This is a lot of fun, being around the best players in baseball."
The Diamondbacks are currently 43-47, 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading San Diego Padres in the National League West. The club has lost six of its last 10 games, but Gonzalez is confident his team will make a run for the title in the second half of the season.
He also knows he will play better than he has.
"We played like a .500 team and every other team in the West did, also. So, it will be an interesting race coming down," he said. "I hope after the All-Star Game we get right back into it and play well. Every team in our division has had a major injury, and we are trying to stay healthy and get on a hot streak."
Baseball aside, Gonzalez said he is going to spend as much time with his family as he can. The state of Michigan has that effect on him.
"Everybody is with me," he said. "My sister still lives in Michigan. It has a special place in my heart because the kids were born here."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.