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October 22, 2008 at 12:07 am ET
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Guest Post: The Regal Madness Of Jonny Gomes

PTownFan writes Pearls Of Wisdom, a blog dedicated to ballplayers from Petaluma, CA — the hometown of Jonny Gomes. She’s also the Silent Auction Skipper for Camp For A Cure, an annual youth baseball camp that raises funds for The American Cancer Society and Lupus Foundation of America. Please allow PTownFan to thrill you with words and pictures to make her case that The Pride of Petaluma deserves the MLB Twenty-Sixth Man Award….

First, let’s examine Jonny’s unique qualifications for the role of the Devil Rays MVPNOPR (most valuable player not on the playoff roster).…

TOOL #1: ANIMAL MAGNETISM

Some good ideas take awhile to catch on.

The Devil RayHawk actually tried to get off the ground in August 2006. Jonny had it for a day or two until some reporter said it looked like the backend of a farm animal.

(The photo of Jonny’s 2006 proto-Rayhawk, one might even call it a mullet-hawk, is so amazing we’re placing it after the jump so you have a moment to gather yourselves.)

The day after the mule comment, the mohawk, and every other hair on Jonny’s head was gone. For an entire season. And it wasn’t exactly pretty.

Before 2006, Jonny’s hair was always big. Really big during his Winter Ball stint with the Mexicali Aguilas:

With this fall’s Rayhawk Rayvolution, every man, woman and child of Devil Ray Town has been inspired by Jonny’s look. It can be argued though that Jonny’s charismatic impact is felt most deeply by his female fans. Yowie.

TOOL #2: FLEXIBILITY

Ever the team player, Jonny was among the first to get twisted in the Devil Rays optional Yoga sessions during Spring Training in 2007. [In an interview with Bugs & Cranks that spring, Yogi Dana Edison told us that Gomes was the class clown and co-teacher’s pet in those sessions because he “showed up in his underwear for the first practice” and “despite his initial reservations and antics, had perfect attendance.”]

Now, everybody’s doin’ the Downward Dog in Tampa Bay. Less than two years later, when the Devil Rays win the World Series, they will be invited to the White House to fist bump with the President. Jonny’s already building a relationship and is rumored to be angling to become Secretary of Defense.

TOOL #3: COMMUNITY MINDEDNESS

Jonny repped the Devil Rays at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove and the St. Pete Times Create-A-Caption craze was born….

Then-teammate Greg Norton won the inaugural round with, “Turn your head to the right and cough”.

Jonny earned an AL Rookie Of The Year nomination in 2005 with a .282 average, 21 home runs, 54 RBIs and 9 stolen bases. His home town of Petaluma, CA thought that was a pretty big deal, throwing him a big old party and retiring his high school jersey. Jonny signed on to sponsor three Little League Teams in town. During the World Series, you might hear that Jonny sponsors 9 (n-i-n-e) teams. We chalk that little exaggeration up to the whole 9=8 New Maddon Math thing.

In 2006, hundreds of hometown fans filled the Gomes Zone when Tampa Bay played in Oakland.

Jonny wears “707” on his glove and other gear as a shout out to family, friends, and fans at home in Northern California . Area code 707 fans gobble up the gear in the silent auction at Camp For A Cure, where Jonny volunteers his time as a coach for one day every year. Even last year in the pouring rain. For 8 hours. “Attaboy” Jonny. Seriously.

TOOL #4: AERODYNAMIC LIFT

The Superman thing is a fan favorite.

TOOL # 5: CREATE-A-CAPTION-ABILITY

If you build it, they will come.

The man has an axe. And a sombrero. And he wrassles. And he has goggles. And a bottle of tequila. And he will drink out of literally anything. He may have the ability to shoot fire out of his head. He has set a new gold standard by which all other players left off playoff rosters will be judged.

Next week, he will be a very deserving World Champion.

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