Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin hits like an All-Star and embraces his inner cat

Through Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB analyst

Tony Gonsolin has always been a cat person as he grew up around animals since childhood.

Today, Gonsolin also has the lowest ERA of any MLB starter and is just a formality away from being named an All-Star for the first time in his career, with the game being played at his home stadium in LA

But did Gonsolin ever expect to compete in the MLB playoffs with cat-fur cleats? Or to have a World Series promo that “Part human, part cat“? No, no, he didn’t. But this week he joined Flippin Bats to discuss everything.

Watch “Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander” on youtube, or subscribe to podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.

Of course, I had to ask Gonsolin how he became the catman in Major League Baseball.

“It all started in 2017 when I was in Rancho [Cucamonga, with the Dodgers’ high-A team],” he said.

“Pitching coach Kip Wells saw this $5 shirt with a cat on it and I showed up one day [in the locker room], and it was in my chair. I think it was a Friday and I applied it the next day to stretch on Saturday.”

And so “Caturday” was born.

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For Gonsolin, Saturday is more than just another day of the week. It’s a day to honor the cats.

“It just started, and then I wore this cat shirt every Saturday because I only had one, and then I just kept adding to my list from there,” Gonsolin said, laughing.

How many cat shirts does Gonsolin have now? “Probably around 50.”

“When I was 10 years old and someone said to me, ’15 years from now you’re going to be known in the big leagues as ‘The Cat Man’ because you’re wearing the cat shirts,’ I would have been like, ‘What are you talking about?'” , he said, “But I don’t hate it. It’s kind of awesome.”

The Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin on pitching in the playoffs and winning the 2020 World Series

The Dodgers' Tony Gonsolin on pitching in the playoffs and winning the 2020 World Series

Tony Gonsolin talks to Ben Verlander about navigating the COVID-shortened 2020 season, making the playoffs, winning the World Series and where his World Series ring is right now.

This year for Gonsolin, everything clicks. The cat shirts are available every “Caturday” and every start, Gonsolin dominates for the Dodgers.

He started the season 10-0 with just 44 goals conceded, putting him in fairly elite company.

I like to think it’s because he’s channeling his inner cat.

Watch the full episode of “Flippin’ Bats” to hear our conversation about Gonsolin’s journey to the big leagues, his success this year and acting like a cat in a FOX Sports World Series promo.

Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst at FOX Sports and host of the “Flip pin batspodcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother Justin in Detroit in 2013 as a 14th-round pick for the Tigers. He spent five years with the Tigers Organization Follow him on Twitter at @BenVerlander.


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