Rio Gomez, son of late reporter Pedro, fulfills father's wish at Classic

March 15th, 2023

PHOENIX -- Players come to the World Baseball Classic for myriad reasons. Some are seeking the big stage and bright lights that the opportunity affords, others the chance to play for a country they call home. But for Colombia reliever Rio Gomez, he arrived at Chase Field hoping to fulfill the prediction of his late father, Pedro.

Gomez worked a scoreless sixth inning during Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Canada, coming back out to record a fourth out -- and his second strikeout -- to begin the top of the seventh. On his way off the field, Gomez pointed up to his family, including his mother, Sandra, who waved the Colombian flag and blew a kiss back to her son.

Pedro Gomez was a longtime baseball reporter for ESPN, revered for his personability and respected for his acumen. Six years ago, he predicted Rio -- a 2017 Red Sox Draft pick who spent 2022 with Double-A Portland -- would represent Colombia in the next Classic.

Mission accomplished.

Pedro, who was a resident of Phoenix, died of a sudden cardiac arrest in February 2021. Father and son were close, making Rio’s journey to both Colombia and the Classic an emotional one.

When asked back in February during an MLB Network interview about making the Colombia roster and whether he thought often about his father during his baseball journey, Rio answered:

“It’s impossible not to. Every day. … This has been a dream that him and me have both had for years on end.”