When San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain threw his perfect game on June 13, there were pockets of pride in Connecticut.
Cain came through the Giants system and many in the Norwich area knew and loved him. As a member of the Norwich Navigators, he was active in the community and made his presence felt on and off the mound.
In Wallingford, Mauro “Goose” Gozzo, rarely at a loss for words, was speechless. Gozzo, who owns and runs “Goose’s Major League Instruction” in Wallingford and had his own eight-year major league career after starring at Berlin High School, mentored Cain from the time he was 11-years old until the Giants drafted him. Gozzo worked with Cain when he lived in Memphis, TN.
Gozzo got a surprise phone call from the Giants last week. Because he was so instrumental in Cain’s development and success, the Giants have invited Gozzo to a “Celebration of Matt Cain’s Perfect Game” at AT&T Park in San Francisco on August 10. The Giants will fly out Gozzo on Aug 9 for the celebration the next day. Cain will pitch on the 11th and Gozzo will fly back to Connecticut on the 12th.
The official name of the event on August 10 is the "Perfect Cain Night at AT&T Park" with pregame ceremony starting at 7 p.m.
“This came out of the blue,” said Gozzo, who coaches AAU teams called “Goose’s Gamers” and provides instruction in all aspects of baseball at his Wallingford facility. “Matt has talked in articles all the time about how I was a big part in his development since he was 11-years old, which I obviously appreciate. This was a surprise to me and it will be a surprise to him. He doesn’t know I’m coming.”
The trip will be very special for Gozzo and may provide him with another highlight. Gozzo has mentored two players who are in the major leagues right now, Cain and Drew Pomerantz, a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. The Giants are playing the Rockies during the series when Gozzo will be there. “It would be a dream come true to see Matt pitch against Drew, who I worked with from the time he was 12-years old.”
Gozzo stays in touch with Cain.
“We talk four or five times during the baseball season,” said Gozzo, father to twin boys. “He invited me to the World Series a couple of years ago so we are still pretty close. It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.”
Gozzo is a Berlin native who was drafted by the New York Mets and had a 12-year professional career, including eight seasons in the major leagues. After retiring from professional baseball Goose has dedicated his life to instructing kids and passing his knowledge to different generations, initially in Memphis TN. for over 20 years, and now in CT for the last four years.
During his time in Tennessee, Goose grew a baseball program that achieved great success. He not only instructed and coached young prospects, but also became their mentor.
For more information about Gozzo’s Goose’s Major League instruction, contact Mauro Gozzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 379-6609.