In terms of sheer fielding ability, Alex Gonzalez was one of the better defensive players to ever suit up for the Blue Jays. During his eight years with Toronto, the former shortstop became a fan favorite for the highlight-reel plays he would make on an almost daily basis.
Now enjoying his retirement, Gonzalez has traded in his superior glove for a school book.
In addition to spending time with his wife and kids in their Miami home, Gonzalez has begun to take online classes at the University of Phoenix, working towards a degree in sports management.
"I'm actually going back to school," Gonzalez said. "I've been doing that, which takes up quite a bit of time to study, after not doing it for so long."
The 35-year-old Gonzalez said that he would eventually like to be involved in the upper management of a baseball team, whether at the Major League, college or professional level.
"I always wanted to stay in the game in some capacity," said Gonzalez, who retired in 2007 after playing in Spring Training with the Kansas City Royals. "For me right now, while spending time with my kids and having the opportunity to help them grow in their school and their sports -- because they're still young -- I could take advantage of being able to do that, and work on my sports management degree at the same time."
Gonzalez has not been able to stay away from the baseball diamond though, as he is the head coach of his son's Little League baseball team. On the same squad, Gonzalez also coaches the two children of his former Blue Jays teammate, Jose Cruz Jr. As well, Gonzalez is also involved in coaching at a local high school.
"I'm enjoying coaching," he said. "I think it's really good experience to spend in that area, where you're not a player, but you're instructing and you're motivating. You're sending messages and building a good foundation for young kids. I think it's a challenge, but at the same time it's gratifying."
While Gonzalez is aspiring to be a baseball executive, he has also given thought to becoming a coach at the professional level. It would seem only natural for Gonzalez to continue to pass on the defensive knowledge he amassed during his 13 big league season with the Jays, Cubs, Expos, Padres, Rays and Phillies.
"That's a possibility also," he said of a post-retirement career in coaching. "I have not ruled that out. The only reason that I have not gotten into a full-time coaching position is because I wanted to spend time down here with my kids.
"But later on, as they get older, I definitely will consider either going into full-time coaching or doing something with an organization."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.