Baseball’s Best Pitcher Is An Unapologetic Cat Dad

Tony Gonsolin hasn’t been shy about his love for cats.

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher rocked cat shirts and spoke often about cats during his time in the minors, continued the habit when he was promoted to the majors, then last year kicked it up a notch when he wore cat-themed cleats as a starting pitcher.

Now the 28-year-old Gonsolin has the highest profile of his young career as he leads all of major league baseball with an astounding 1.58 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and a 9-0 record, and he’s continued using his platform to spread love for all things feline.

For our readers outside the US, as well as those unfamiliar with the sport, the numbers above mean Gonsolin has been exceptional and virtually unhittable this year. Pitching is often compared to chess, and for good reason. Being a pitcher is paradoxical — a pitcher’s job is to throw the ball across the plate while at the same time making it as difficult as possible for the batter to actually hit the ball. As a result, pitchers use deception, psychological tricks and a wide variety of tiny physical adjustments to make the ball behave in different ways.

People with a passing knowledge of baseball think these guys just throw as hard as they can to blow the ball past the batter at 100 mph. While some pitchers are capable of that, it’s not a viable strategy. Throw the same pitch again and again, and hitters will know what’s coming. That’s not what you want to do, unless you enjoy getting clobbered by home runs.

Instead, a great pitcher will follow that 100 mph fastball with an 82 mph breaking ball, throwing the hitter’s timing off and baiting him into swinging early. Or he’ll throw a 12-6 curveball, which drops off by several feet as it crosses the plate.

One of Gonsolin’s go-to pitches is a split-finger fastball, also known as a splitter because of the grip pitchers use to throw the pitch. It combines the speed of a fastball with the drop of a curveball and is very difficult to hit when executed by a skilled pitcher.

In addition to wearing cat-themed cleats, getting his teammates and manager to wear cat shirts and using social media to talk about his love for all things feline, Gonsolin celebrates every “Caturday” with posts about cats.

As he climbed the ladder from minor leaguer to pro, Gonsolin was a cat man without a cat because the uncertainty and travel schedule of a minor leaguer doesn’t leave much time or stability for a pet. In addition to the constant possibility of being dealt to another team, minor leaguers can be shuffled between different levels of play (AAA, AA, single-A, fall leagues, etc) and sent up to their MLB team for short stints if big leaguers get hurt and the team needs a temporary replacement.

Now that Gonsolin is an established major leaguer, and the Dodgers value him so much that it’s very unlikely they’ll trade him to another team, Gonsolin adopted an orange tabby named Tigger. It’s safe to say little Tigger is a well-loved cat who is doted on by his adoring human.

Credit: Tony Gonsolin/Instagram

Note: As longtime readers of PITB know, Little Buddy and I are Yankee fans. I was born and raised here in New York, started watching the Yankees as a child when they were lousy in the early 90s, lived through the glorious Joe Torre Era when Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neil, Mariano Rivera (my favorite Yankee), Andy Pettite et al won four (!) World Series in five years from 1996 to 2000, and have been waiting patiently for the Yanks to win it all again for the first time since 2009. This is our year! The Yankees are historically great in 2022. Buddy himself might not fully understand baseball, but he has a mean mid-20s swipe ball and he likes it when the Yankees win and I’m happy. We wish Gonsolin well, but if the Dodgers and Yankees end up in the World Series this year, well, I’ll be rooting against him, cat cad of not. Sorry, Tony!

Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettite, four of the greatest Yankees in the 1996-2000 dynasty.


11 thoughts on “Baseball’s Best Pitcher Is An Unapologetic Cat Dad”

    1. I think it’s pretty awesome that he’s so vocal about it, and even gets his teammates to appreciate cats, since there’s still that stigma that cat guys are somehow weird. Plus, I’m not sure if I really conveyed how good he is this year, but Gonsolin is having a truly magnificent season.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I gave up on baseball when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. 😡
    They have been my favorite team since your grandma was a baby.
    Sorry, Yankees fan!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well Bella doesn’t know anything about baseball but she does know about a footballer in the UK who kicked a cat on social media, so the USA is clearly much more advanced in sports people than the UK, the average UK footballer has the brains of a plank ( that’s actually a fact). Bella ( and John) think that’s a massive (ie 99%) windfall tax on all football clubs and players in the top league with the proceeds going to charities should become a law.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, but he got fined up the ass, lost all his sponsorships, prosecuted and sentenced, which shows the UK takes animal abuse seriously. Unfortunately in my Google News alerts for cat related news, I see stories every damn week about idiots here in the US shooting cats with BB guns, arrows and even real guns, as well as mutilations and other psycho behavior. Most of it goes unresolved, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good man! It’s nice to read some positive news about athletes and animals once in a while. 🙂 Thanks for keeping us informed, Big Buddy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no, don’t tell Little Buddy that Holly and I live in MA and our family are 100% Rivals of your team. But maybe you can tell him that being from CA originally, Holly and I personally prefer the SF Giants to any team. (except we hate that Buster Posey left.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’re not a Red Sox fan or I could no longer be friends with you lol. Seriously though, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is probably the most intense in sports.

      Buster Posey spent his whole career with the Giants and retired last year, which was odd because he had a really good final season. I guess he wanted to go out on a high note.

      He could have gotten a lot more money to keep playing, but the thing is, catchers suffer a pretty big toll on their bodies. When you think about it, they’re sitting in that unnatural position for hours in a sport that has an insane 162-game season. It creates all sorts of knee and back problems.


    2. BTW re: Your latest blog post, I remember reading that toothpaste really took off when one of the major companies accidentally created toothpaste that had that bubbly, fizzy feeling that we take for granted now. Apparently it was a mistake but people loved it because it made their mouths feel clean, and the rest is history.


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