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Las Vegan Joey Gallo continues to impress on, off field

Updated May 11, 2019 - 11:59 pm

When it comes to the Holy Trinity of Las Vegas sluggers, Joey Gallo probably is the Holy Ghost, though he does have more home runs this season (12) than Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper, who each has seven.

Gallo’s all-or-nothing approach to hitting a baseball (he has more career homers than singles) is more pronounced than the other two. But the Texas Rangers outfielder is cutting down his swing a little, or is at least making more contact in 2019. He has a higher batting average (.248) than Bryant (.242) and Harper (.235).

The former Bishop Gorman High standout on Wednesday hit his 100th career home run faster than anybody else has ever done it in the American League.

On top of that, he is one of the game’s nicest guys. A couple of years ago when I asked Gallo for two minutes at Cashman Field during batting practice, he gave me 20. And this was after he had been sent down by the Rangers.

More heartwarming is his relationship with Dan McCarty, a local teenager who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta — a brittle bone disease. He and Gallo have been friends for more than 10 years.

“Joey befriended my son, Daniel, when Joey was volunteering for the Miracle League while a student at Gorman,” said James McCarty, Dan’s father. “He and Dan clicked, and Joey didn’t even know that his dad (Tony) and I were friends. He’s been very good to Daniel through the years, and Dan is his biggest fan.

“It’s just very gratifying to see Joey break out this year, and more than gratifying when a big-time, professional athlete is grounded and as nice as you’d hope he would be to a young fan.”

Nick(ed) again

Moments after Gallo blasted his milestone homer off Pittsburgh’s Nick Kingham completely out of PNC Park, James McCarty received a text from Tony Gallo.

“Nick Kingham from Sierra Vista High School was the pitcher when Joey hit his first home run as a freshman in high school,” it read.

Kingham is a pretty good story in his own right. After being drafted by the Pirates in the fourth round in 2010 and forsaking a college career at Oregon, he made his major league debut April 29, 2018, against St. Louis. The right-hander took a perfect game into the seventh inning before yielding a single to Paul DeJong and was the winning pitcher in a 5-0 victory.

Carter still swinging

Remember Chris Carter, who also played at Sierra Vista and led the National League with 41 home runs in 2016, only to be cut by the Milwaukee Brewers after striking out 206 times and committing 11 errors at first base?

Carter, 32, at last report was trying to prolong his career with Acereros de Monclova (Monclova Steelers) of the Mexican League — the same team that former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman managed for 42 games in 2017 before being fired.

If Carter doesn’t make it back to the majors, he will have ended his career with 158 homers — and 266 singles — in 750 games over eight seasons. He had 179 singles when he hit his 100th homer, the fewest after Gallo (93), Russell Branyan (172), Ken Phelps (174) and Ryan Howard (176), and one fewer than Dave Kingman (180).

Aviators hat dance

The Aviators’ Ant Man logo is so odious that the players have elected not to wear it on their caps — at least not during games.

A team spokesman said hat choice is a players’ decision. The Aviators have worn the cap with the traditional LV logo on front for every game except the two featuring Reyes de Plata (Silver Kings) branding, an homage to the migrant workers who helped shape Nevada’s mining history.

The Aviators do wear their Ant Man caps during batting practice when hardly anybody is watching.

:01

Eleven years after lining up at tight end and H-back for Arizona against Brigham Young in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl — that’s a whole lotta Gronkowski, it was written about then-Wildcats Rob and Chris — the brothers were back in Las Vegas, partying hard at the MGM Grand pool last Sunday. The paparazzi had a field day.

But they missed Rob Gronkowski giving the command to lower the grate at Sam Boyd Stadium, which is what celebrities shout into a microphone at a supercross race instead of “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

A request to interview Gronkowski was politely declined through a supercross spokesman, who suggested Gronk was way too hopped up on Monster Energy to speak in meaningful sentences.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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