Back where it all began
Bo Bichette’s fourth-inning home run against the Red Sox on Tuesday night was a special one for the young Blue Jays star.
Bichette hit a towering shot (40-degree launch angle) over the Green Monster that sailed onto Lansdowne Street. It came to rest just steps from a building that used to house the gym where Bichette’s parents met 30 years ago. Bichette’s father Dante, a four-time All-Star, was in Boston for a series with the Brewers (who were in the American League at the time) when he met his future wife, Mariana, at a Gold’s Gym in the shadow of the Green Monster.
But the story of how the future Mr. and Mrs. Bichette met is a bit more interesting than just two folks catching each other’s eye across a musty gym. It turns out Brewers hitting coach Don Baylor, who went on to manage the elder Bichette with the Rockies, deserves a lot of the credit.
Here is how Manny Randhawa recounts the story in Dante’s SABR biography.
Bichette’s routine while in Boston was to work out at a Gold’s Gym across the street from Fenway Park, just behind the Green Monster. After taking early batting practice before one game, he walked over.
“I walk in, and this girl is walking away from me. And she turns around, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow. I could marry this girl,’ Bichette recalled. “I never said anything to her. I was too scared.”
Bichette walked back to Fenway, where he saw Baylor.
“I said, ‘Don, I just saw a girl I could marry.’ And he said, ‘Did you ask her out?’” Bichette remembered. “I told him I didn’t, that I was too scared.”
Baylor made Bichette walk back over to the gym and ask Mariana out. They celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 2018.
“God bless him. I owe Don Baylor a lot,” said Bichette of his friend and former manager, who died on August 7, 2017. “He was put into my life for a reason.”
Richard Griffin of the Blue Jays’ media relations team was able to track down the people who found Bichette’s home run ball and retrieve it. Bo signed some autographs in exchange for getting the ball back, according to MLB.com.
The gym closed in late 2012, according to its Yelp reviews. The building later housed a store called Baseballism, but a Google Street View image taken in November 2020 shows the storefront for lease. It sounds like the perfect place for a Bichette Family Baseball Museum, if Bo ends up matching his father’s career.
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