Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes were introduced in Oakland Friday. (AP)
Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes were welcomed to Oakland, Friday afternoon. Once at the podium, there were few surprises.
Here is what Lester and Gomes had to say to the assembled media at the O.Co Coliseum:
Initial reaction trade?
I think excitement. Obviously leaving Boston after being there for so long is difficult, but I’m excited to be here, going from a team that hasn’t done so well this year to the team with the best record in baseball is exciting. Fortunately I have a few faces here that I recognize and know well, so it should make the transition pretty smooth.
Being part of Oakland rotation
It looks great. I’ve got to see a few of these guys from the other side pitch against us in the past, and they’ve done really well, and obviously their numbers speak for themselves. Hopefully I can just fill my spot and do my job and give some innings and give these guys a chance to swing the bat and score some runs.
What last few days were like
The anxiety of it, not knowing where you’re going to be ‘¦ having a family makes it difficult. When you leave someplace you call home for eight years, that made it harder. But, like I said, I’m happy to be here and happy to be a part of this, and hopefully I can contribute.
Thoughts on A’s from afar
Full of energy. They play the game the right way. Obviously their pitching staff has always been strong. It’ll be fun to be a part of. They’ve got a lot of young guys that have already been around awhile, so the youth and the energy is still there. It’s exciting to be a part of it and see it from the other dugout now.
Pressure of winning
I wouldn’t say pressure. These guys have been in the playoffs before, they’ve made runs before, it’s not going to be anything new to a lot of these guys here. Hopefully with adding us, we can maybe just add a little bit more experience the further side of it, going deeper, and help out as best we can as those situations once we get there. But I wouldn’t say pressure. I think these guys here expect to go the playoffs every year now. It’s a good atmosphere to have when you have the clubhouse in the same direction, having the same goal.
Difference in pitching in new park
Obviously having the Monster 300 feet away isn’t exactly great for pitching, but it’s a lot more foul territory, bigger in gaps, it’s going to be fun to see what those doubles that scrape the wall are fly balls to left. It’ll be nice to see that instead of the cheap doubles. We’ll see. I’ll just pitch my style and see what happens.
Importance of relationship with Oakland pitching coach Curt Young
Huge. That’ll definitely make the transition a little bit easier. You go through a lot of ups and downs, a lot of trials and errors, stuff you get into in bullpens, during a game, and he knows how I am as a competitor and a person. That makes a transition for me as a pitcher, and our catchers, defense, a little bit easier. You don’t have to learn someone all over again. He knows that from a full season, so it’ll make it a lot easier on me and hopefully on the team.
Relationship with Red Sox
Any time you negotiate with a team and it doesn’t go the way everyone wants it, there’s always a little bit of disappointment, but that’s not to say the effort wasn’t there on both sides to get something done. But my time in Boston will be something I always remember and cherish, from 2002 to yesterday. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the organization, the way they treated me, treated my family through the good times and bad times. We’ll see where that relationship goes later on, but right now I’m an A and I’m going to go out and perform for these guys and do the best I can to bring the championship here.
Lester knows, you create a different bond of guys when you go through a season that takes you into the playoffs. Like last year with the Sox and the year before here. Little biased from my end, growing up in the area, being an A’s fan. I always thought it was unique coming here. I went from A’s pajamas to an A’s uniform in about 22 years. I put a lot of work into the young guys, physically, mentally — like a proud father watching these guys take off, see six A’s in the All-Star Game, that was pretty cool. So I of course kept tabs on individual guys, as well as the organization.
On returning to Oakland
When I left here, it was one of the most unique things, being a part of it. To get standing ovation from the crowd and even get your opponents, the Tigers, to top their caps, you really realize how magical that season was. The effort that went into what we accomplished. I was fortunate enough to have that lifelong goal to get that World Series ring. I thought I was hungry to get that World Series ring. Now that I have it, I’ve become starving for it. It really sinks home to that’s what we play for. It’s not the contract, it’s not the fancy cleats, this and that. It’s separating yourself, being a World champion. The history of Fenway is pretty awesome, obviously, but you come here and look up to the three-time World champs, one of two teams to do that, the history of winning is here. There are some alum here that expect a title out of this organization.
More thoughts on Lester
Not only is this guy well-decorated and climbing the totem pole of the left-handers in the game and left-handers in the postseason, that’s what you guys get to see. You guys don’t get to see the work ethic, what goes into his success, what goes into his championship pedigree, something I didn’t know on the other side. It truly is a breath of fresh air to know the best pitcher on the team is also the hardest-working guy on the team. We both realized early on in our career why we play 162. 162 is just the appetizer for what this game’s all about. This is a pretty big piece to add to a ballclub. I’ve been blessed and lucky to have behind him. I can’t think of a better guy to toe the rubber in a big situation.
Walk back in and treat it like you never left?
These guys have done an unbelievable job this year and last year without me. I hope I did have a little bit of an impact on their career to get here, some of the guys. But I’m not here to mix things up, be the new sheriff in town. I’m just here to add on to what this team has done to this point. I’m just coming in all business right now. There were six of them at the All-Star Game. I haven’t been to one. These little guys are trumping me. I’m just going to come in, be Jonny Gomes and be ready when Bob Melvin calls on me.