Fredi Gonzalez is leaving the Atlanta Braves for a whirlwind, cross-country trek back to Georgia.
After managing Thursday night’s series opener at San Francisco, Gonzalez is set to depart from the Bay Area at 6 a.m. on Friday so he can arrive in Statesboro, Ga., in time to attend his daughter’s graduation from Georgia Southern first thing Saturday morning.
He will fly from San Francisco to Atlanta, then to Savannah before renting a car and driving another 45 minutes to Statesboro.
”I couldn’t be any further away,” Gonzalez said of playing out West. ”Hey, whatever it takes, if you’ve got to take Stagecoach or Pony Express to go see your daughter graduate college, you’ve got to do it. … I wonder where Chipper’s (Jones) at. I’d think he’d swing by and come get me.”
Bench coach Carlos Tosca, a former Toronto Blue Jays skipper, will manage in Gonzalez’s place for two games – and even again Sunday if the first two are wins, Gonzalez joked. He is scheduled to return late Saturday.
”If he loses them, he gets credit,” Gonzalez said. ”No matter what, it goes under mine. He’s more than capable of doing it. He’s managed, he’s done it, we’ve been together seven years. … If they go out and win three in a row, they may not want me back. I tell you what, if we win those two games I may stay out Sunday. You can’t play with superstition, right?”
Gabrielle ”Gigi” Gonzalez is set to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations, and has an internship set to begin in Atlanta. She is the oldest of Gonzalez’s two children.
”She did it in four years. I’m going to go watch her walk. I’m so pumped up,” the proud father said. ”Some summer school, a lot of sleepless nights but she got it done. I’m really excited for her. … I got a text from her the other day that, `This degree is yours and mom’s for helping me go through college.’ I’m really excited to see her. I told my wife to make sure we pack some handkerchiefs.”