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Gallo: Debut Was Awesome, Curse at Same Time

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    TEMPE, AZ - MARCH 13: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers hits a solo home run in the second inning during the spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium on March 13, 2016 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

    I'll never forget it.

    Sitting down the first-base line for Joey Gallo's big-league debut was a pretty unforgettable experience.

    There was an electricity in the stadium that night, and Gallo did nothing to dampen it.

    The prodigious slugger clubbed a homer deep into the upper home-run porch and fell a triple short of the cycle while driving in four runs in one of the most memorable MLB debuts ever. After that, it was all downhill.

    Sure, there were some more titanic bombs mixed in — one off Clayton Kershaw in Dodger Stadium, but for the most part, Gallo's season took a massive nosedive starting from Day 2 in the bigs.

    “Looking back at it now,” Gallo told his hometown Las Vegas Review-Journal, “as special as the day was, one I dreamed about forever, maybe the expectations wouldn’t have been so unrealistic if things had been a little different.”

    The expectations quickly backfired on Gallo, as he finished his month-long stint in the bigs with a .204 batting average and 57 strikeouts in 36 games — a pace that just couldn't sustain big-league life.

    “It became such a grind where you actually showed up to the park expecting to fail,” Gallo said. “I was defeated before taking the field, and that’s a tough thing to accept. It’s all mindset. I had to get back to things in the offseason working out in Las Vegas that I knew would help me. I had to get back to work and know that I’m a good player. I have to move on from last year and know this is a new season, a new opportunity.

    “I have a better feel for things. I have a better approach to things. Last year, I just showed up and played. This year, I have a plan.”

    Gallo was at it once again this spring. Once again, I was sitting down the first base line (this time in Surprise) when he hit one of the longest home runs I've ever witnessed in person. The expectations weren't there though, as there was no chance he'd be on the Opening Day roster, and maybe in the long run, that'll be a good thing.