A left-handed pitcher known as the Winnipeg Goldeyes’ “strikeout king” has re-signed for a fifth season.
The team announced Tuesday that Kevin McGovern — a pivotal piece of the Goldeyes’ back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017 — will be back on the mound in 2020.
McGovern told 680 CJOB’s Sports Show it was a no-brainer to come back to the team and the city.
“I love Winnipeg so much,” he said. “I have great roots here. I found my wife in Winnipeg, and I have a lot of amazing family here that makes these summers a lot of fun.
“The organization here in Winnipeg, the Goldeyes, have treated me with a lot of respect and given me all the opportunities to make something out of this.
“I just get to spend more time here and the fans are the best in the baseball that I’ve ever been a part of … if I could have one more year in baseball, I’m just really happy it’s here in Winnipeg.”
McGovern, 30, is coming off a season that saw him finish second in the American Association in wins and sixth in innings pitched. He’s only nine wins away from the Goldeyes’ all-time wins record, and nine wins and 71 strikeouts behind the league’s all-time record in both categories.
The back-to-back championship season, he said, really cemented his love for both the city and the team. It also helped him change his game from more of a “selfish” player to a team-first mentality.
“It was something where I couldn’t believe the talent that was around me, and it was something that kept elevating my game. I learned so much about baseball in those years,” he said.
“I’ll be the first to say that the only thing I care about in baseball is winning, and it was a lot of fun during those two years.”
Longtime Goldeyes manager Rick Forney, who was also a part of those championship teams, said he’s happy to see McGovern back in Goldeyes colours.
“He’s coming off a fantastic season,” said Forney.
“Hopefully he can give us the same production that he has provided since he first joined us in 2016.”
While McGovern has loved his time in Winnipeg, he admitted he’s basing that opinion on the city’s summer weather.
“I’ve spent maybe a weekend or so in those winters and I believe that was the time I learned that 40-below is the same in Fahrenheit as it is in Celsius,” the Pennsylvania native said.
“I’m definitely cherry-picking by picking these summers, but it’s a great city.”
McGovern joins fellow 2020 Goldeyes signees Victor Capellan, Wes Darvill, Willy Garcia, Garrett Harris, Dustin Houle, Mitchell Lambson, Jonathan Moroney, Darren Seferina, and Andrew Vernon. The team’s training camp begins May 7.