most popular among us have our detractors.
And then there's Jonny Gomes.
The Petaluma hometown hero's compelling biography and generous spirit make him possibly the city's most universally liked person - ever.
"With Jonny Gomes, you either love him or you love him," Petaluma Mayor David Glass said.
It is those sentiments that led to Glass issuing a proclamation earlier this year declaring today "Jonny Gomes Day."
Glass will lead a busload of about 50 local residents headed to AT&T Park to cheer on Gomes, now a member of the Boston Red Sox, who are in the Bay Area for a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. Today's game starts at 12:45 p.m.
"There will be 50 people who ordinarily would be Giants fans who will be at the ballpark rooting for Jonny Gomes," Glass said. "We hope that he gets a chance to play in that game."
Gomes, who last season helped lead the Oakland A's to a Western Division title, is batting .236 with 10 homers and 35 RBI in 233 at bats with several clutch hits for a Red Sox team that's been one of baseball's biggest surprises this year, leading the Eastern Division in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
Gomes journey to the majors, however, has been even more improbable.
The Casa Grande High alum rose from impoverished circumstances to become a veteran big leaguer. He survived a heart attack triggered by a clogged artery in 2002.
And he's never big-leagued his community.
Gomes has consistently supported his former high school baseball team and kids programs in Petaluma, Glass said, noting that Gomes was a vocal supporter of the Petaluma all-star team that went to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., even attending a celebratory banquet during a grueling 162-game major league schedule.
"He is such a large part of the local community," Glass said. "He doesn't live here, but he hasn't forgotten where he's from."
Glass and company will cheer for Gomes in box seats along the left field line Section 131.
"They're very good seats for watching the game," Glass said. "And if Johnny Gomes should wind up in left field they're the best seats in the stadium."
Whether Gomes is in the starting lineup or even plays in today's game is uncertain.
Glass, whose 20-plus year career broadcasting professional baseball included a five-year stint calling Giants games, acknowledged that Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell would likely use Gomes "in a strategic spot."
But that's not really the point of honoring Gomes, anyway
"Whether Jonny Gomes plays in the game or not, we're there to root for Jonny Gomes and to say thank you for what he means to Petaluma," Glass said.