Yankees’ Victor Gonzalez felt ‘so much emotion’ pitching in front of family for Mexico City game

MEXICO CITY — Victor Gonzalez has pitched in four World Series games and 93 major league games, but nothing compared to what he felt standing on the mound Sunday afternoon at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú.

The Yankees’ reliever, a native of Tuxpan, Mexico, was pitching in his home country and in front of his mother, Norma Ortiz, for the first time as a big-leaguer.

“So much emotion you feel in the moment and you don’t know what to do,” Gonzalez said through an interpreter Monday afternoon. “The level of excitement is so high that the amount of pressure you feel, because you want to put on a good show and make sure you give the fans a great outing. All the emotions, everything tied together, it was so much. Even when they said my name, people were clapping and cheering and I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I needed to take off my hat, but I didn’t.”

Victor Gonzalez pitched the eighth inning of the Yankees’ game in Mexico City on Sunday. AFP via Getty Images

Gonzalez’s mom, grandparents and wife were all in attendance to see him pitch the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to Diablos Rojos del Mexico.

The Yankees did not bring anything close to their full roster for the exhibition series, but the two games meant the world to Gonzalez.

“To be quite honest with you, the expectations and what I felt [Sunday] were completely different,” he said. “I’ve pitched in the big leagues for quite some time now and I’ve never had that kind of sensation.”

Gonzalez found his mom in the stands and she looked nervous too, he said.

She is not a big baseball fan and they don’t talk about the game much, which the left-hander enjoys as a way to disconnect.

But after the game he reconnected with his family, including his grandfather giving him a big hug and kiss through tears.

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Gonzalez’s teammates knew how much the moment meant to the whole family.

“I’d be in tears, man,” catcher Jose Trevino said. “It’s just a special moment for anybody, their parents get to see them growing up — I’ve got kids, so I know how much that would mean to me if I was able to see my son [pitch] for the first time in his home country.”

Victor Gonzalez pitched in front of his mother, grandparents and wife Sunday. Getty Images

A few innings before he even entered the game, Gonzalez sat in the bullpen in the fifth inning and took his pulse.

“I kept telling myself, ‘Man, I gotta slow it down a little bit. I’m going too fast,’ ” he said. “But eventually I got in the game and I can tell you that the level of adrenaline I felt was so high, but yet I want to feel that again. I want to feel that level of excitement. I enjoy that. Hopefully I get another opportunity where the adrenaline level goes up like that and I can replicate that moment again.”

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