Last night, I had the fortune of conducting a phone interview with Randy Gyorko, the brother of Cardinals’ utility man Jedd Gyorko. Below, Randy answers questions ranging from his opinion on the season to some funny stories about Jedd. If you haven’t already, follow him on Twitter @GooseGyorko.
Can you please talk about this baseball season and what it has been like rooting for Jedd and the Cardinals?
It’s been wonderful. I remember I was at work when he called and told me that he was getting traded to St. Louis. I actually work with quite a bit of people who are from the St. Louis area and they are all Cardinals fan, so they were pretty excited. I anticipated that after 3 years of him being in San Diego and kinda being out of the playoff race by the All-Star break or the trading deadline that I was excited for him to play for a team that was going to be in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Are you surprised by his season so far, especially with his power outburst in the 2nd half of the season?
I didn’t know that it was going to happen to the extent that it did obviously. I knew what he was capable of, but I was kinda shocked. I never knew how the season was going to turn out because I didn’t know what his role was going to be. In San Diego, he was playing most games and he was a part of the every day lineup, but in St. Louis, from what I understood going into Spring Training and into the season they kinda wanted him to be a super sub.
They wanted to use him to give Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter some days off. I even suspected that he was going to play some games at short stop. Once Peralta got hurt, I thought he was going to play more, just because nobody knew what to expect from Aledmys Diaz. However, as more people got hurt, it got to a point where he played almost every day. Then, that San Diego series happened after the All-Star break when he went crazy on them and he carried [the hot bat] for awhile. He carried the offense for a couple weeks along with with Brandon Moss and Yadier Molina.
Before diving into possible 2017 additions, we must consider some general information regarding Major League promotions. Specifically, it is important to recognize that promotions happen for a multitude of reasons, as well as at different times throughout the season. In a plain sense, a promotion can occur when a player is simply ready to take the next step.
What was Jedd Gyorko like growing up as a baseball player?
He wasn’t always the typical power hitter. He was more of a put the ball in play and hit a lot of doubles. He liked to wear out right and left center field. If you give him a ball that he could handle middle-in, he had the ability to hit it a long way. He never profiled as a power hitter in high school, in college, or in the minors.
Currently, Jedd is at 75 home runs in 4 years. How many do you think he will end up with in his career?
If he gets between 400-500 at-bats a season, I don’t see why he can’t hit 20-25 home runs per year. Depending on how long he plays of course, I’d like to see about 150-200 home runs. That would be really cool.
What was Jedd like growing up?
He was crazy. He was the youngest of 3 boys (Randy 7 years older and Scott 5 years older). We beat Jedd up all the time. He would be the guinea pig for anything we wanted to do. We had a trampoline growing up and we would practice wrestling moves on Jedd. We would throw him as high as we could. We beat the hell out of him and made him tough. Other than that, he’s super competitive, as we all are and as my dad is.
Our dad instilled in us that if you’re going to do something, you might as well be the best at it that you can be and try to win so that’s what we did. We didn’t take it easy on Jedd. When he was six years old and I was thirteen years old, I would try to block every time Jedd shot a basketball. I would throw the baseball as hard as I could on him just to make him look silly and he would get mad. But, he never stopped; he never quit. There was always the next day. I would ask Jedd, “You wanna go play?” He always responded, “Yep” and was ready to go,
Can you tell us something about Jedd that the common fan doesn’t really know?
I’ve been really happy with the job that the Cardinals staff has done through interviews and everything of showing Jedd’s personality. I don’t know if he was more reserved in San Diego or it just happened, but I always knew that he was super funny. He’s really really sarcastic. I’m sure you guys have seen that, as of this year, through some of the interviews he has done and some of the interviews certain people have done.
Even Mike Matheny has said that Jedd is part of the reason the club house stays loose. Jedd’s really loud, brash, funny and he says stuff to keep people on their toes. I always told people in San Diego that he was like that but they always said he always seems super reserved and he just goes about his business. That’s just because a lot of people didn’t get to see a part of that clubhouse where as now in St. Louis people are speaking about it. I’ve been happy with that. I knew he would really like that.
Ask any Cardinals fan you know, and they’ll be sure to tell you what a huge disappointment of a season this has been. Between an unfathomable number of injuries, unexpected underperformance from many positions, and Mike Matheny’s nightly shenanigans, it’s easy to say they’re lucky to still be within striking distance of a playoff spot with just 13 games to go in the season.
Difference between the Cardinals and the Padres fan bases?
So far this year, Cardinals fans have been great. They’ve been supportive and they seem to really like Jedd. They like having him around and it’s been cool being on Twitter. Nobody ever really gives me crap.
As far as the fan bases, Jedd has talked about this: when he goes on the road, he can see a smattering of red here and there. When the Cardinals hit a home run, even on the road, he can see a couple thousand fans in red standing up and cheering. He always thought that it was pretty cool. In San Diego, you could get that at home, but not so much on the road. St. Louis is such a national brand. They’ve been around for so long. They’ve won. There’s just a transplant of St. Louis fans everywhere you go. He’s always been shocked by that
I actually witnessed it in Pittsburgh all three series this year. In the game when Adam Wainwright had the pinch-hit double, I was sitting there with my parents and brother and you could see 2,500 people standing up in red cheering. Usually, when the Padres came to town, you just didn’t see that. It was us and some of Jedd’s friends and that was about it.
Do you have any funny stories about Jedd?
We joke with Jedd about his relationship with Brandon Moss just as much as anybody. We joke with Jedd’s wife and we’re like “are you sure you’re okay with Jedd having dinner with Moss on the road?” She laughs and everybody has a good time with it.
What is your prediction for the rest of the season?
I think that if I were the Chicago Cubs I would pray that the Cardinals didn’t get into the playoffs. I think that they would be their nightmare scenario. It totally flips the script from last year in the fact that St. Louis won the division and the Cubs played them well all year and they beat them in the playoffs– especially with the way Jake Arrieta got hot. I’m not saying Alex Reyes is where Arrieta was last year, but, if I’m the Cubs, I don’t wanna see St. Louis in that series.
I hope that they get in but it’ll be tough. It doesn’t seem like the Mets are playing anybody with a pulse. Everybody they play seems to be tanking it, which is definitely frustrating as hell. I watched some of their games in Minnesota this weekend and it looked like the Twins fielded players I’ve never heard of. Hopefully the Giants keep losing, especially since they have so many games remaining against the Dodgers.
This September has been so fun. For the first time, I’ve had to scoreboard watch other games. Usually when football season rolls around, I tune out of baseball other than to watch some of Jedd’s at-bats in San Diego.
I’d love to see St. Louis get in especially since I want Jedd to play in the playoffs. He hadn’t done it yet.
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports