Sonny now a daddy: Gray loving fatherhood
Following breakout 2014 season, A's pitcher eager to make Gunnar proud
Sonny Gray isn't so sure he'll make it to a showing of "Fifty Shades of Grey" anytime soon. The A's pitcher is too busy writing his own script, which fans have promptly deemed "54 Shades of Gray," a fun play on the title using the number sewn on the back of his uniform.
"I've heard that a lot recently," Gray said, laughing.
Mostly on Twitter. But one peek at Gray's own account reveals a much bigger story unfolding in the 25-year-old pitcher's life. Just weeks ago, Gray became a father, to son Gunnar Carmack Gray with girlfriend Jessica Forkum.
Carmack is a family name in Gray's circle, and Gunnar was simply a name the couple agreed upon. After all, it's hard not to like the sound of Gunnar Gray. The name perhaps rivals only his father's, and the two sure do look alike.
"Apparently a bunch," Gray said. "That's what everyone has told me."
Gray is readying for his second full big league season, after going 14-10 with a 3.08 ERA over 219 innings spanning 33 starts in 2014 -- the last of which produced a memorable six-hit shutout against the Rangers to send the A's into the American League Wild Card Game.
"I think the most important thing was I still felt strong and healthy at the end of the year," Gray said. "220 innings in, I felt I was just as strong as I was in the beginning. So throwing Game 162, the most important part was knowing I came out of it feeling that strong and had good stuff.
"This year, obviously the main thing I think for all of us is to just stay healthy and continue to progress. I feel like I learned a lot last year, and hopefully I can learn even more this year and have a pretty successful season."
He'll have a new fan in tow, too. Gunnar's closet is already full of A's gear.
"That'll be really cool," said Gray, likely in line for his second consecutive Opening Day start. "That's one of the most exciting parts I can't wait for. That'll be a fun time, for sure.
"Right now, the best part for me, I like putting him on the floor and just looking at him. Looking at him, playing with him. You don't know what's going on in that little head of his, but it's pretty cool just to have him hold your finger or something. It's a really cool feeling."
Father already knows best, introducing his son to baseball by putting one in his left hand, hoping to raise a southpaw. For now, the right-handed Gray will enjoy the little moments, along with a new perspective gained by fatherhood.
"A lot of people told me before I had him, you just take the game and then you come home to your kid and your family and it's everything that matters and you're able to flush out the rest of the day a lot easier," he said. "We'll see how that goes."