Gael Baseball Alum Wins World Series
Tony Gonsolin’s pitching helps the Dodgers clinch the MLB World Series.
By Oliver Collins
Two outs, top of the ninth and the Rays are down to their last out. The pitching rotation looks on from right field as Julio Urias, the young hard throwing left hander threw the last pitch to Willy Adames. “Strike Three” the umpire called as the ball flew through the inside corner of the plate. The players charge the mound, the pitching rotation rushes the field led by Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin the three aces. A site to see for Dodgers fans and the first world series win for the organization in almost 30 years. For Tony Gonsolin, it was almost surreal.
Tony Gonsolin was born in Vacaville, California on May 14, 1994. From a young age Gonsolin showed tremendous upside for his arm in the outfield, it wasn’t until his time in the Saint Mary’s baseball team that his pitching potential was finally realized. For Gonsolin, pitching came almost effortlessly after a long time in the outfield and he immediately showed potential with his high velocity and fluent wind up. Quickly after an excellent final collegiate season he entered the MLB draft where he was selected 281st overall. This wasn’t exactly the pick he was looking for but he flew up the minors ranks and entered a Dodgers rotation that needed a reliable pitcher.
While Game 2 didn’t exactly go how Tony Gonsolin wanted it to, it was a big moment for him and I’m sure his family too. An excellent showing throughout the year was capped off by most young ball players dreams, a world series ring. Gonsolin will look to continue to shine throughout the next few seasons and maybe even win another world series ring with the Dodgers organization. We will look to spotlight Gonsolin going forward and track his progress as he climbs through the stages of what it means to be a major league baseball player.
A look into just a few of the female athletes today who are breaking down the gender barriers present in sports.
By Mark Molz
The world of sports has long been geared toward benefitting the male athletes, but as time has progressed many women have contested the inequalities present in the sports culture.
When I initially think of female athletes, one of the most influential that comes to mind is Billie Jean King. King paved the way for equal pay in both mens and womens professional tennis and is a dominant figure in the history of sports. King was influential in the fight for equality and representation of women. Back in 2009, former President Barack Obama awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom for “her advocacy work on behalf of women and the LGBTQ community.”
As King was fighting in a time where it might’ve not been deemed “acceptable” to stand up for her beliefs, she has paved the way for many other female athletes today. We have seen dominant figures such as Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and even companies like Adidas, confront the inequalities that have long been attached to the hip of sports culture.
Serena Williams has vowed to never stop fighting for gender equality in sports. In 2016 she wrote an open letter for Porter Magazine's Incredible Women of 2016 issue and in the letter stated, “People call me one of the ‘world’s greatest female athletes.’ Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female. We should never let this go unchallenged. We should always be judged by our achievements, not by our gender.”
This year Williams has partnered with the brand Secret to launch a campaign exploring the gender bias in sports. She is using her platform to explore the issues present in the high-school level, all they way up to her professional status. Williams and the brand Secret are teaming up to commit themselves to making a change.
Williams stated, “It’s very important to me that I use my platform to bring attention to the many issues faced by women in sports and to call for meaningful change.”
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe is another athlete who uses her voice in hope of generating a more inclusive world of sports. The USWNT, a FIFA powerhouse, has long took their stance on equal pay. In 2019 Rapinoe, among others, led a charge in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation addressing the pay discrimination that is overwhelming present. Just recently Rapinoe made a public statement saying it is “disgraceful” that the storied club of Manchester United in the Premier League has just recently dedicated money towards a women’s club in their extremely wealthy organization.
Rapinoe has long spoken out about equality, the LGBTQ community, and racism in sports and has always been confident in using her voice. In 2016 she was one of the first athletes to talk a knee along side Colin Kaepernick in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
On one of her latest instagram posts Rapinoe commented, “Fight like hell for what you believe in, for people, never back down, be brave and courageous, be kind, look people in the eye, don’t look away from pain.”
According to reports, NBA players receive up to 50% of the leagues revenue while WNBA players only enjoy a mere 20% of what the league produces. NBA players are able to make money from jersey sales and their base pay is just below a million dollars, while the WNBA and their athletes have never been able to see nearly the same benefits. Many WNBA stars would have to play overseas in the offseason to balance out the little pay they receive in the states. Diggins-Smith has spoken out on the massive wage-gap between the two leagues and has pushed towards a more fair pay for WNBA players.
Diggins has been vocal about how the WNBA players salary caps out at around $115,000 which is significantly less than NBA and their lowest paid players. She has been known to publicly criticize players, ESPN, and more to get her point across, stating ESPN would rather show “everything Lebron James ate before they show a highlight of a WNBA game.”
Her criticism on the disparities between men and women's pay is critical. Without her the issues regarding gender equality often get swept under the rug. She is paving the way for future generations of women in sports to make a salary they deserve and her hard work is beginning to pay off. Thanks to the efforts of Diggin’s and others, this past year the WNBA agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement increasing pay up to 53% for the players.
In an AD released in 2018, Skylar Diggins-Smith is able to highlight the pay inequity between men and women (linked below).
In 2019 Adidas launched their campaign to equally represent women in the media. According to their report women in sports only make up about 4% of the media coverage. As a part of their commitment Adidas vowed to; boost visibility of female athletes in sports media through the partnership with Twitter, work with and within local communities to remove barriers to sport at their roots, and collaborate with women’s sports organizations to drive equality, from grassroots to elite.
They have also released a film that pushes to find female sports in media and open visibility of female athletes. The film features USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn, world record holder Keni Harrison (100m hurdles), Maria Taylor; a host/reporter for ESPN, WNBA point guard Layshia Clarendon, and marathon runner Rahaf Khatib.
Here we have a few examples of individuals and companies working to break down barriers, fight for visibility and equality, and bring to light the unfair gender equity between men and women. Without women in and outside of sports projecting their voices, issues such as these can often be looked over. But, it should not just be female athletes advocating for change, we all need to come together and fight for a more inclusive world of sports.
For more information regarding the research of this article please visit the links below.
Senior baseball player Gabe Giosso prepares to enter his final season with the Gaels baseball team, ending his baseball career here with pride.
By Mark Molz
Gabe Giosso, a senior this year at Saint Mary’s College, is eager for this year's team to compete at a level exceeding the play of the previous three.
Since a young age Giosso has always been a sports enthusiast. Whether he was on the baseball diamond, football field, or basketball court, he always excelled. Growing up in the Bay Area, Giosso decided to stay close to home when deciding to attend Saint Mary’s, but coming here wasn’t always his plan. Originally committed to play baseball at the University of Portland his junior year of high school, Giosso was excited to start a new chapter in his life. But, when the baseball coach wanted to divvy up his scholarship money Giosso decided to pack his bags and look elsewhere.
Entering his senior year of high-school Giosso was still unsure as to where he would continue his academic and athletic career. After a fallout with the University of San Francisco, Giosso was careful in his decision for where he would look next. As the baseball season rolled around, Saint Mary’s came knocking on his door.
“I have met a lot of really close friends I enjoy being around. Being a part of the baseball program here has taught me a lot about myself and has given me the opportunity to do what I love while getting a quality education,” Giosso said.
In his first two seasons with the Gaels, Giosso found himself in and out of the line-up, appearing in a total of 24 games and starting in three. Whether he was coming in to pinch hit or taking the field for the occasional start his relentless work ethic kept him prepared for anything the coach asked him to do. During his sophomore year Giosso hit his first collegiate home run.
Entering his junior year the baseball program welcomed a brand new coaching staff. Giosso, like many of the other players, was unsure of what to expect, but he knew it was his time to step-up.
“As hard as it was to say goodbye to our previous coaching staff, coach Greg Moore and the rest of the coaches were a great fit right off the bat,” Giosso stated. “They made us feel comfortable by introducing themselves before school began and it made for an easy transition going into my junior season.”
His hard work in the fall of his junior year landed him the starting job at first base come season. Giosso was one of only four Gaels to appear in all 16 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Giosso was a workhorse in the Gaels line-up with his solid glove and smooth swing he was fitting into his starting role with ease.
Now a senior, Giosso is hoping he is able to play his final year in a Gael’s uniform come spring.
“In our minds we are getting ready to put together one of the better seasons Saint Mary’s has had in a while and win a championship, regardless of looming COVID-19 questions.” Giosso continued to say, “we have a really talented and experienced team this year and everyone is working hard to be prepared for the 2021 season.”
With aspirations of competing for a national championship in Ohama, Giosso has spent countless hours of preparation pursuing his goals. Long days in the classroom, combined with high intensity practice, and late nights in the gym, Giosso is what athletes like to call “A Gael Grinder.”
Whether the gaels are able to achieve their dreams of reaching Ohama or not, Giosso hopes to continue his baseball career once he is finished at Saint Mary’s. But, he is not too focused on the future just yet as the Gaels prepare to be atop of the West Coast Conference in just a few months’ time.
For more information regarding the research of this article please visit the links below.
Staying Fit While Staying Safe
Saint Mary’s Recreation Center continues to be open providing students with much desired physical activity. Rec Center Staff develop new sanitation standards to keep fellow students safe from infection.
By Olivia Virgen
With the closing of businesses, including gyms, throughout Contra Costa County, Saint Mary’s needed to take the specific precautions put in place by the county. In late September, the county decided it was safe enough to open restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and places of worship with restrictions and limited capacity. Shortly after, Saint Mary’s decided to open the pool for lap swimming only, before reopening the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center’s indoor facilities. Swimmers were to schedule a time slot, using the Campus Recreation app on their phone, to ensure the pool remained at it’s limited capacity.
A student, Will Hansen, explained that there is only one student allowed in each lane and a lifeguard is always present. Hansen expressed his excitement for his access to use the pool and that he uses it as a way to destress. The center’s indoor machines and equipment also needed to take on a new look this year to maintain the safety of students and staff.
Like Hansen, first year student Hayden Bradley, enjoys going to the gym with friends. While Bradley likes to use the pool from time to time, he also enjoys using weights and various machines inside the center. He discussed his routine of using weights and some of the machines to continue to stay healthy and fit. After touching any kind of equipment members must sanitize what they have used. Multiple sanitizing stations can be found throughout the gym, with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
In addition, Recreation Center staff must sanitize machines and equipment every hour. Hannah Holt explained her roles as a Recreation Service Assistant, saying “I work at the front desk and I answer phone calls, I help with member check-in, and for Covid-19 I make sure everyone has their mask on and clean periodically to make sure everyone stays safe”.
Holt explains the new contact free way to check-in, which includes members presenting their green check mark on the LiveSafe app and scanning their member barcode from the Campus Rec app. Once members’ barcodes are scanned they are immediately logged into the system for covid tracing. Members are then free to workout in selective areas of the gym. This form of no contact check-in limits the interactions between students and staff. Check-in desks are boarded with glass, separating gym goers from the staff.
Along with the sanitizing stations that are located throughout the gym that students must use after touching any machines or weights, Holt explains that each worker is assigned a particular zone that they must wipe down throughout their shift. Maintenance staff will also use a machine to spray free weights to further disinfect. Other equipment, such as basketballs and badminton rackets and birdies, must be checked out at the front desk. The basketball court is currently open to single players to limit the contact between students. Everything is again sanitized once returned to the front desk.
The center’s hours have also been altered this year due to COVID-19 and the small number of students living on campus; open from 9:00am to 9:00pm Monday through Thursday and until 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. Other changes include the unavailability of the locker rooms and showers as well as the temporary closure of the cafe located inside. Fitness classes such as spin biking and yoga are held on the deck outside rather than the workout rooms. The gym is also where some Saint Mary’s intramural sports would be held, such as basketball, indoor soccer, and dodgeball, but instead have been cancelled until further notice due to Covid-19. Recreation Service Assistant, Erin Clark, explains these cancellations and closures.
She says, “the school tells us what we can and can’t do...asking if we can do certain things, open up on weekends, open up to people off campus but they [St. Mary’s College] have yet to give us the ‘okay’”.
Clark explains that this year is very different from her previous years working at the Rec Center. The adjustments that have been made, have allowed on campus students to maintain their health and fitness while practicing social distancing. When asked to make a statement on the decision to reopen the Rec Center to on campus students with the necessary precautions in place, the Department of Athletics and Recreation has yet to respond at this time.
Rookie Tua Tagovailoa starts for the Dolphins in first season with the NFL, overcoming various injuries to make his debut.
By Oliver Collins
Tua Tagovailoa rose to become one of the most promising young quarterbacks in college football, continuing his draft stock even after tearing his ACL. Tagovailoa was born in Ewa Beach, Hawaii and immediately received nationwide spotlights for his quick legs and lazar fast throws. It came as no surprise when decided to bring his talents to the most consistent college football teams, the University of Alabama.
Just after his commitment to the college however, his childhood idol and grandfather, Seu Tagovailoa, passed away, bringing a great deal of depression upon Tua who debated continuing with football. Only after his father convinced him that the only way to carry on his grandfather's legacy was to continue with his football career did Tua set his mind straight with his work ethic on the field. In 2017 after Jalen Hurts and the Crimson Tide were blown, Tagovailoa took the reins leading Alabama to yet another national championship against Georgia. Tagovailoa didn’t stop there, taking the starting job the year after and keeping the team among the best in the U.S.
In 2019 Tagovailoa suffered a series of injuries including a high ankle sprain, however he continued to play off and on throughout the season. In January 2020 Tagovailoa decided to forego the 2020 season and declare for the NFL draft where he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.
As most players don’t start for their first NFL season automatically Tagovailoa was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrik until last week when he threw one touchdown and 102 yards, against the New York Jets. The Jets is a team that isn’t exactly top notch; this is a small challenge for someone of Tua’s talent. The young star played well and was a good sign for the Miami Dolphins fans there are out there. Although the remainder of the Dolphins quarterback depth chart is up in the air for this year it is obvious Tagovailoa will be a star when the time comes.
Tua Tagovailoa came from almost nothing, a background of pop warner in Hawaii, he showed great talent when it came to throwing the ball. His commitment to Alabama cemented him a career in the NFL where he will likely have large success. After his first game it’s clear to see why Tagovailoa went in the first round and it will be interesting how the rest of the season for him and the Dolphins will go.
By Oliver Collins
Despite lack of support from some of the nation’s political leaders, national athletes will continue to fight for racial justice with their platforms.
As we enter the end of the election season, we can look into how sports have had a significant effect on the Black Lives Matter movement and in turn the upcoming presidential race. As we begin to contemplate an understanding of how much of a problem police brutality is and the significance the Black Lives Matter movement has on our current society we reflect on Donald Trump’s disregard for justice.
We go back to 2017, when our President was asked about a deadly melee in Virginia between white supremacist Neo Nazis and Liberals, Trump responded saying “You had some very fine people on both sides.” Trump’s quote shows that our president doesn’t believe in equality, however, some have stepped to the plate in the fight against racism. Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling of the national anthem, a controversial viewpoint that brought tons of praise and criticism. The NBA’s response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, these are both brilliant examples of how athletes stand up to the racist system we see in America today.
Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem of what would be his final NFL game. Kaepernick stood for the movement saying, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
While many came to Colin’s aid, many immediately criticized him declaring that by kneeling for the national anthem he is in turn disrespecting the U.S flag and the veterans that put their lives on the line for their country. The truth is the former Nevada alumni was actually standing for the ongoing brutality being committed by police across America even to this day. Across sports kneeling had become mainstream…
During the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs basketball teams including the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play Game 5 against the Orlando Magic due in part to the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. Although this came after months of protests and political criticism of the way police handle certain instances, the Bucks organization released a quote stated by the players expressing their thoughts on the matter, “Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protesters," the players said a statement released by the team. "Despite the overwhelming pleas for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
It was extraordinary to see an entire organization shed light on such a prolific topic in today’s world and really show how united we can all become. The quote by the Bucks corporation really shows that we cannot go on living in a society that frightens us, we shouldn’t have to be afraid of the law enforcement that is here to protect us. Something that’s clear racism has a large part in.
Saint Mary’s educator Robert Bulman, a sociology professor who specializes in Race and Ethnicity Studies was kind enough to give some insight on how some of the current events we are encountering relate to sports involvement.
“Sports have always played an important role in helping us to make sense of society and social change. The social institution of sport is influenced by the culture around it just as it exerts influence on that culture. As with most institutions in society (politics, schools, the family, the economy, etc.) there is a fluid interchange between the wider society and the institution of sport. To try to put up a barrier between them is impossible. The relationship between sport and society is too porous. Whatever is grabbing the attention of society will also grab the attention of athletes.”
Professor Bulman also cites the example of when Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith simply raised a first to support racial justice, their medals were taken from them but even today we look to them for wisdom and understanding. Even Saint Mary’s Women’s basketball team are collaborating with the Black Lives Matter Movement, after interviewing Amy West, a member of the team. She expressed, “Student athletes have been gathering for Black Lives Matter zooms to educate basketball players. Just today, our coach asked us to share quotes for a slogan that responds to this specific issue.”
It’s great to see so many people discussing the movement on campus and among larger platforms. Many sports around the world are continuing to protest police brutality and racism through everything from kneeling to raising fists. To see how far we have come in terms of equality in just the last year alone is a phenomenon and continues to transform the society we live in today.
For more information please see the link below.
History of Activism in Sports
A look back at critical moments in sports and social justice history.
By Mark Molz
Professional athletes, especially in the past century, have long used their platform to speak out on the social injustices demonstrated in our country.
Athletes have used their status to show they too are citizens who have a voice of reason and are affected by the injustices that take place. From Muhammad Ali, to Bill Russell, Billie Jean King, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, John Thompson, and more throughout history, we have seen a constant fight for justice and equality in professional athletes/figures in their respected platform.
Known for his great performances in the ring, Muhammad Ali was extremely critical in the fight for justice outside boxing. In 1967, after being selected in the draft, Muhammad Ali refused to enter the war. He believed it went against his Islamic faith, and he saw no benefits of leaving his country to go fight. Although he received criticism and was sentenced to five years in jail for draft evasion, he took a stance and stuck to his beliefs. He was supported by the likes of fellow athletes such as Jim Brown, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his fight for justice.
Ali stated, “If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow.”
An all-time Celtic great with 11 rings, Bill Russell did not only demonstrate his fight on the court. In 1961 Russell and a few other teammates walked out on a scheduled exhibition game in Lexington, Kentucky when black players on the team were denied service to eat in the dining room of the hotel they were staying in. Russell and his teammates took a stand long before it was deemed acceptable for Black athletes and individuals to demand change. Today we now see this happening all over, especially in the most recent NBA season.
Russell said, “it was important to me that everybody, everywhere, knows that the Black players are deciding they’ll stand up for themselves.”
Billie Jean King
Founder of the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, Billie Jean King was a pioneer for gender equality in the athletic world. Becoming the first female athlete to earn over $100,00 in prize money, she was influential in decreasing the wage-gap in sports. After winning the U.S Open in 1972, but receiving $15,000 less in prize money, King was determined to fight for equal pay among both men and women. As a result of her hard work, the U.S. Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money in both the womens and mens league. She is also the founder of womenSports magazine and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She has forever cemented herself as one of the most important and influential female athletes of our time.
“Unless I was number 1, I wouldn’t be listened to.” Billie Jean King stated.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
While partaking in the 1968 summer Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos lowered their heads and raised their fist to show their support for equality and human rights. After placing first and third in the 200-meter event they took the podium displaying their black socks and a raised black-gloved fist. Their fist represented the Black power and Black unity in America, while their shoeless feet dawning black socks symbolized poverty in Black communities. They took a stand on one of the biggest stages in the world and will forever be remembered as one of the most powerful political statements in the history of the Olympics.
When reflecting on the act of protest, Carlos told The Undefeated, “A lot of people ask if I have regrets. I have no regrets,” Carlos said. “The people who have regrets are the ones who were there in 1968 and did nothing.”
In 1989 the NCAA voted to implement a rule denying athletic scholarships to the freshman athletes who failed to qualify for the academic standards under Proposition 48. John Thompson, the most dominant coach in Georgetown history, did not agree with the passing of this rule. Before their regular season game against Boston College Thompson proceeded to walk off the court in protest of the rule implemented. Like Bill Russell, Thompson took a stand during a time where athletes were still inserting themselves in the political world.
During his protest Thompson said it was “to bring attention to something that I think is a tremendous tragedy. I have every intention of talking to other people while I am in the form of this protest to try to identify what the reason for some of it was and also to try to get it changed in whatever sensible, reasonable manner I feel I am able to.”
This is just a small look back at some of the few important figures in activism. Whether it is Ali, Russell, King, Smith and Carlos, Thompson, or others that have paved the way for activism, sports has always been a platform for individuals to speak their mind. Today we have seen individuals such as Megan Rapinoe, Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James, Serena Williams and more light the way for making a change in society and the sports world.
It is important not to forget the individuals who took a stance during times where they were the minority. Everyone has the right to speak up and advocate for change, and athletes will not “shut up and dribble,” but rather use their stage to stand up for what is right.
For more information regarding the research of this article please visit the links below.
Ryan Ford '23,