If you like baseball, you probably should like Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers. But it's OK if you don't happen to like him as much as 15-year-old Jordan Hynum of Fort Atkinson, Wis., does. With due respect to others, she's probably Gomez's No. 1 fan.
You might remember Hynum from such Big League Stew posts as: "Gomez gives 2 hugs to adoring fan." With Gomez signing autographs for fans at a game on his bobblehead day at Miller Park in April, Hynum burst into tears when Gomez came by, prompting two hugs. Gomez's image softened and Hynum became an instant celebrity.
"It's been crazy," Hynum said. "I've been known as the girl who cried on TV."
Pivoting from that moment, the Brewers gave Hynum and her family front row seats to the game Tuesday night, and that would have been plenty, until Gomez came out of the home dugout so that Hynum might throw him the ceremonial first pitch.
"Shocked" probably does not cover how she felt. And yet, she managed to throw a strike.
It turns out that Gomez had met Hynum before this season — at Wrigley Field in 2013 — and signed a bat for her. She wiped away tears when it happened. Later in the season at Miller Park, she found Gomez again and she cried again. From MLB.com:
What is it about the mere presence of this player that makes her cry?
"I don't know," Jordan said. "I really like him. Every time I meet him, it's a dream come true. He's my idol. Every time I meet him, I feel so grateful, and it always makes me cry."
Did she cry for the first pitch? Not obviously. She might be getting used to being around Gomez, just a little.
Gomez's interaction with Hynum also stands to alter the public's opinion of Gomez, who has taken heat from players on other teams and media for his style of play and decision-making on details such as bat flips and home run trots. In an interview with Fox Sports Wisconsin, Hynum explained her appreciation for Gomez a little more deeply:
"I see him as a kind-hearted person, and I see him posting on his kids and his wife on social media. I don't really care if he's good at baseball, I just think he's very nice."
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