It was a little over a month ago that the Florida State baseball captain was looking to lead this years team to Omaha. Justin Gonzalez, draftee of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, turned down a chance to climb up the ladder to the majors, just so he could complete his degree and try to bring home the first national championship in Seminole history.
That dream, once confidence, is now a distant memory. That dream, once a goal since departing Omaha, only lasted five games. That dream vanished in what was once thought to only sideline the captain for a few games, eventually turned into season ending hip surgery.
Although not physically able to play, senior shortstop still shows why he wears the "C".
"To tell you how the true Gonzalez acted, he said, ‘I’m through for the year as a player, but I’m not through for the year as a Seminole,’" said head coach Mike Martin. "He’ll possibly be the first guy that I’ve ever taken on the road knowing he can’t play, knowing I gotta count him as one of my twenty-seven. That’s how important he is to our club."
Since Gonzalez went down with the injury, Giovanny Alfonzo has stepped in at short to fill the gap. Just over two weeks ago, the news came out that he will be the everyday starter now that the captain needed surgery.
"[Gonzalez] is our captain. He’s our leader, but it’s a part of the game," Alfonzo said. "People get hurt regardless of who they are. You got to be able to come out and either be able to fill in or you work for that job. I guess you can say it’s bittersweet [to have more playing time], but I like to see it as doing my job."
Playing one of the more difficult spots on the field, Alfonzo has listened closely to who he is replacing.
"In any situation he is there to pat you on the back and say ‘good job’ or he’s there to say ‘just play your game and don’t get worked up,’" Alfonzo said on the advice from Gonzalez. "He’s such a good leader since he knows what it’s like to be out there. He knows what it’s like to be out there and make a great play. He’s almost like that conscious that helps you out. He’s still the captain. He’s just as loud as anyone else."
With the extra advice in hand, Alfonzo has been trotting out each game since Gonzo’s injury and putting forth the best effort the sophomore can.
"It’s comforting to know that you’re going to be out there every day and no matter if you go 0-3 today or 0-4 that you’re going to have another chance tomorrow," Alfonzo continued. "It’s comforting in that fact, but regardless of if Gonzo was coming back tomorrow or in a couple weeks from now, you still need to go out with the same intensity and same mindset every game."