Gomes celebrates holidays after busy year

Gomes celebrates holidays after busy year

Gomes celebrates holidays after busy year
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brandon Gomes has experienced a whirlwind year heading into the holiday season.

Tampa Bay acquired the right-hander from the Padres in the deal that sent shortstop Jason Bartlett packing. During this past summer, he made the jump to the Major Leagues -- which saw him pitch like a bulldog out of the Rays' bullpen -- and, finally, he got married in November.

Now, the native of Fall River, Mass., is ready to kick back at his home in Houston for a relaxing first Christmas with his bride, Blair.

On an early December afternoon, Gomes agreed to share with MLB.com some of his experiences from holidays past.

MLB.com: Growing up in Fall River, just outside of Boston, you are probably used to having a white Christmas. What was that like having snow everywhere and a roaring fireplace?

BG: Having a white Christmas is nice. I'm not a huge fan of snow anymore, but I like it to be snowing on Christmas. It would snow most of the time when I was growing up, but there wasn't a fire. We didn't have a fireplace.

MLB.com: What was Christmas Eve like for the Gomes family?

BG: My mother's side is Italian, so we would go over to my grandfather's on Christmas Eve for a huge Italian dinner. Every year it would kind of switch up, but you'd always have spaghetti with ham, shrimp, and all different things. So we'd basically stuff ourselves into a semi-coma and then open presents -- not from my parents, but from all the aunts and uncles. After the meal, we'd start opening. Since it was a pretty big family, it would take quite a while. We would all line up by age and sit there while the youngest [would] go, and you'd sit there until your grandparents would go. It was a little testing for a younger kid, but you appreciated it more as you got older. Then, we'd go back home, go to sleep and open presents Christmas morning.

MLB.com: What did you do on Christmas morning?

BG: Christmas morning would be at our house, and following that we'd go eat breakfast. My grandfather basically lives in the backyard of my family's house -- the two houses are connected by the yard. So we'd go to his house and cook breakfast. We'd open presents from him and my uncle. After that, we'd go to my dad's side on Christmas afternoon.

MLB.com: Any favorite Christmas presents come to mind?

BG: Ghostbusters when I was younger. I used to watch the movie like twice a day. So one Christmas I got the Ghostbusters' car and the house, and I had all the figurines and all of that. I think I was about eight. I wasn't really into baseball that much back then. I was into Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles.

MLB.com: Do you have a must-see Christmas movie?

BG: Not really. "Scrooged" with Bill Murray was pretty funny. I just watched "Elf" with Will Ferrell for the first time the other day. I thought that was pretty funny.

MLB.com: You said you feasted on Christmas Eve. Was there one particular dish that you always looked forward to having?

BG: Yes, it was basically fried bread. You'd use that to sop up all the spaghetti sauce. We would make those in the morning, all the cousins and stuff. It's fried dough, so how can you go wrong with that?

MLB.com: So, Blair and you are spending Christmas in Houston this year. Any particular reason?

BG: We've never spent a Christmas together. We've been together for almost seven years and haven't done that yet, and we've been traveling a lot the past year. So we figured we might just do it, just the two of us.

MLB.com: After the holidays, Spring Training is right around the corner. Are you getting excited?

BG: Can't wait. This year was great.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.