The Dodgers' best pitcher this year loves cats

Make every day Caturday

September 20th, 2020
Tom Forget / MLB.com

Clayton Kershaw is having another Kershawian, Cy Young Award-worthy season. Walker Buehler is the heir apparent to the ace's crown. Dustin May and his physics-defying fastball have been a revelation.

But the Dodgers' best starter this year -- at least as far as ERA is concerned -- is Tony Gonsolin, who has posted a 1.51 ERA through six starts and one relief appearance. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering he was a Top 100 prospect entering the season, and the Dodgers are simply a player development machine. It's one of the reasons why the team was able to trade Kenta Maeda before the season and Ross Stripling during the year. There's never a lack of arms in L.A.

Armed with a mid-90s fastball, a wipeout slider and a killer split-finger -- a pitch quickly disappearing from the game -- Gonsolin may not be quite as good as his numbers look this year (almost no pitcher is), but he's got the goods to back it up.

But far more important than all that is this very important fact: Gonsolin is a cat man. He's a cat lover -- a cat fancier, if you will.

Gonsolin calls Saturdays, "Caturdays" because, well, duh, that's an obvious pun, but also because it's important to take a day every week to honor your favorite furry friends.

“Every single Saturday is just a day to bring appreciation to cats,” Gonsolin told Brian Brown while on the Dodgers' Triple-A club in Oklahoma City. “It’s very easy to rhyme ‘cat’ with ‘sat,’ so Caturday just flows easily. It’s just a day to wear a shirt that has a cat on it.”

On these days, Gonsolin dons a cat shirt -- one of at least 20-odd he has in his collection.

Like, say, this one:

Related

Or maybe this one:

Even better, if his start lands on a Saturday -- er, Caturday -- he doesn't forgo the shirt. Not only does he wear it underneath his jersey, but he displays it in his locker so his teammates know just which ridiculous graphic tee to thank for the outing.

During Spring Training last year, manager Dave Roberts tossed on his own cat tee to celebrate the day:

The team then sent Gonsolin, along with Maeda's translator and fellow feline enthusiast Taku Iwamoto, to the St. Catty's Day event in Phoenix:

Joe Kelly has gotten in on the Caturday act, too. Considering how hard it is for rookies to make an impact on a team, this is pretty impressive.

Even though he loves cats, Gonsolin knows there will never be a cat-based event like Bark in the Park days.

“I mean, I wouldn’t really recommend it,” Gonsolin told Brown. “Cats are a little territorial sometimes, so if you put them all into one spot it could get a little messy. Whereas dogs and ‘bark in the park,’ you can kind of train them to be OK around other dogs and that none of them are trying to fight for some territory. It’s a little different story with cats.”

Sadly, Gonsolin's start against the Rockies comes on a Sunday, so he won't be rocking any cat shirts. But that's all right. Fans now regularly tweet photos of their cats watching the game to him, making every start a kind of Caturday.