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Legacy of baseball reporter Pedro Gomez lives on by inspiring young umpires

Gomez learned to love baseball from his grandfather, who was an umpire. Two years after Gomez's passing, his foundation is sending that love to the next generation.

PHOENIX — Very few people loved baseball more than Pedro Gomez and there was never a doubt that Gomez, who lived here in the Valley, loved his job.

Whether it was covering the game for ESPN or the Arizona Republic or watching his son Rio pitch, it was clear how much Gomez loved baseball.  

We are approaching the two year anniversary of Gomez’s passing. He died in February 2021 after suffering sudden cardiac arrest. 

Now, his foundation is teaming up with the D-Backs in a new way to honor him.

Sitting in a ballpark and hearing all the sights and sounds brings out emotions for Sandra Gomez, the wife of Pedro Gomez.   

“It’s bittersweet,” Gomez said. “I sit here, and I look at the field and I think about (Pedro).”

To honor Gomez, his family started the Pedro Gomez Foundation, which helps young broadcasters, helps grow the game of baseball, and now, helps educate young umpires.

“To me, it brings chills because he always took the time to understand through our eyes what we do and how we went about our business,” Alfonso Márquez, a former MLB umpire said.  

Gomez learned all about baseball from his grandfather, who was an umpire in Cuba.

“His grandfather didn’t speak any English,” Sandra Gomez said. “But he would play the games on the radio, and he knew exactly what was going on. That’s where Pedro got his love for baseball. I started to get to know the umpires (and) the Foundation felt that we should give back to them too.” 

Realizing that the love and bond for umpires runs deep, the Pedro Gomez Foundation teamed up with Umps Care Charities to bring a 6-week training course for young umpires to Chase Field.

“I don’t know the future, but there’s got to be somebody in that room that will go a long way,” Márquez said.  

“I’ve run 20 of these clinics over these last few years and we’ve trained 274 new umpires,” Bryan Fields from Top Choice Officials said.

Experts are teaching the kids, who are mostly in high school, how to call balls and strikes. 

Márquez, who started his career as an umpire as a summer job at the age of 12, loves being able to inspire the next generation of umpires, reminding them of one big thing.

“Being a Major League umpire is a career that you can go after,” Márquez said.  

Gomez’s passion is now being passed down to the next generation. 

“I try to bring that passion to these young guys that are still in the game as well as some of the older guys that are just starting with us and get as many guys in love with the game,” Fields said. “That’s the one thing umpires have in common is (that) you wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t love the game.” 

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