Gonzalez ponders life after baseball

Gonzalez ponders life after baseball

MIAMI -- Despite being in his 18th Major League season, Luis Gonzalez feels he has a lot of baseball left in him. Still passionate at age 40, the respected veteran hopes to play at least another year or so.

When the day comes to retire, Gonzalez would like to eventually remain part of the game, preferably in an advisory or teaching capacity.

One thing he doesn't want to do -- at least for now -- is be a coach.

"I don't want to be a coach," the Tampa, Fla., native said. "I want to be more of a guy where they send you off to Minor League clubs, and you impact them by showing them how to be a big league ballplayer. There are two sides to it. It's not just how you play on the field. It's how you treat people in the clubhouse, working with the media. There is a whole side of it."

Gonzalez's influence has rubbed off on a number of the young Marlins players, who are witnessing a true professional go about his business.

"I think the game has changed so much," Gonzalez said. "Respect the guys who play on the other side of the field. No bad situations are going to happen because of it."

There are a number of unwritten rules in the game, and one of them is not to showboat. That's why the other day, when Atlanta's young shortstop Yunel Escobar flipped his bat while running to first base on his home run trot, Gonzalez took notice.

Gonzalez said Escobar, born in Cuba, may have been excited because he was performing in South Florida. He added that manager Bobby Cox and some Braves veterans would probably talk to Escobar on how to handle himself.

"You've got to be a pro about it," Gonzalez said. "At the same time, it wasn't like it was his 400th home run."

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