Josiah Gray struggled in his start against the New York Mets during the last homestand in the nation’s capital, going just three innings and giving up six runs on seven hits in an 82-pitch outing in what ended up a 13-6 loss.
The next day, he was captured by MASN’s cameras on the field in Nationals Park talking to veteran starter Marcus Stroman, the Mets’ right-hander that the 23-year-old Gray had told Baseball America previously he would compare himself to when asked for a comp.
Gray told MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato this week that Baseball America including Stroman’s Twitter handle in a tweet for their story when he was still a prospect in the Dodgers’ system, before Gray was traded to the Nationals, caught Stroman’s attention, and the two struck up a conversation online that they continued when they had a chance to meet in person in D.C.
MASN just showed a shot of Marcus Stroman and Josiah Gray having a chat pre-game. Looked like Stroman was trying to help Gray out a little with something after his start last night. Pretty cool. pic.twitter.com/R66w0HuRlp— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) September 6, 2021
“I would say that quote tweet from Baseball America just kind of sparked things,” Gray told the MLB.com writer.
When the Mets came to Nationals Park, Stroman reached out and invited the young pitcher to come out and talk on the field.
“We’ve talked a lot online before,” Gray said this past weekend in a post-start Zoom call with reporters from Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, “... and this was our first time talking in person. So, obviously he just wanted to introduce himself, see how things were going with the trade and whatnot, but then we chopped it up, saying hopefully we’ll get together in the offseason, work together, meet up and kind of just talk shop and work together on pitching, and mechanics, and body movement, and stuff like that, so that was the gist of the conversation, but obviously great to meet him and he’s one of my favorite players, I love the way he goes out and does things, so that was a pretty cool moment.”
Getting to meet, talk shop with, and potentially work out with one of your pitching idols, as a fellow big league starter now, has got to be pretty cool.
“It’s sweet,” Gray acknowledged. “That’s something you always remember. But it was kind of like pay it forward, so when I’m five, six years down the road, I’m going to hopefully have some fans that want to meet me and talk shop and work with me, so he’s paying it forward, and that was a pretty cool moment to talk with him, [for] him [to] take some time out of his day to say some kind words and things like that, so it’s definitely going to be something I remember.”