Miguel Gonzalez gets it.
He’s one of the lucky ones, realizing his dream to play Major League Baseball. His dream began in the San Fernando Valley, where Gonzalez played Little League baseball at Pioneer Park, and was nurtured at San Fernando High School (which retired his uniform #11) and Los Angeles Mission College before blossoming with the Baltimore Orioles.
And if there is any way he can help others also achieve that dream, Gonzalez — now 31, and beginning his fifth season with Baltimore — is all for it.
So when officials from the San Fernando National Little League came calling, asking if Gonzales could help donate toward a new scoreboard for the players, Gonzales did more than just give some dollars for the project. He paid for the new scoreboard himself.
It will be unveiled Saturday, Feb. 27, when the league celebrates its Opening Day for the 2016 season.
“The [old] scoreboard wasn’t working and they needed an upgrade,” said Gonzalez, speaking by phone from Sarasota, Fla., where the Orioles are holding their spring training.
“It’s a good thing for the kids and nice for them to have. Something the kids can enjoy, and it’s easier for them now to keep score.”
Gonzalez is being modest.
This is more than “something nice” for the kids. It shows them that someone who played on the same field they do when he was a boy isn’t too big to reach back and help out now that he is an adult and living his dream.
Delores Lomeli, a San Fernando National Little League fundraiser, was merely hoping Gonzales could provide some seed money when she contacted him about the organization’s effort to raise money for a new scoreboard — the biggest item on their wish list for improvements.
She was stunned when Gonzalez offered to pay the entire cost, which she estimated at around $6,000.
“Our scoreboard has been there for years and hasn’t worked for years. We were always looking for the funds to replace it, and I thought, ‘why not Miguel?’ Lomeli said.
“A friend of his family coaches in the league and gave Miguel my number. He called right away. There was no hesitation. He said send him an invoice, and then put me in contact with his financial advisor. He is an awesome person. This is just great.”
Armando Gomez, who coached Gonzalez at San Fernando High, was not surprised by his former player’s generosity.
“He is an outstanding young man who came from hardworking parents,” Gomez said. “He was always the first one to help on the field when he was there. He doesn’t shy away from hard work; that’s the reason he’s made it.
“Miguel is a big-time character guy. Hard work and perseverance — that defines him.”
Gonzalez will not be able to attend the Opening Day and scoreboard ceremonies in person on Saturday, but several members of his family will be on hand. Although the scoreboard will not be operational until next week the family and the crowd will see Gonzalez’s name and picture on top of the templet.
The little league’s Opening Day Parade begins at 10 a.m., and goes from San Fernando Park to to Pioneer Park. Miguel’s family are the grand marshals. At Pioneer the Opening Day and scoreboard begin approximately 10:45 p.m. Pioneer Park is located at 828 N. Harding Street in San Fernando.