A team dinner at a fancy-pants downtown steakhouse prevented Joey Gallo from catching every minute of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but he will have at least three more opportunities to watch his hometown hockey team.
The first-year Vegas Golden Knights have taken the NHL and greater Las Vegas area by storm. Gallo is a fan, though not as big of a fan as good buddy and fellow Las Vegas boy Bryce Harper.
The Washington Nationals star puts Gallo's fandom almost to shame, though Gallo hosted several Golden Knights watch parties over the off-season for his buddies, including Harper.
The Golden Knights topped another Washington team, the Capitals, 6-4 on Monday night to open the best-of-7 series.
"Harper would come over a lot. He's a huge fan," said Gallo, the Texas Rangers slugger. "It's a huge deal. The amount of traction and city it's created in the city and the interest, it's crazy. It shows how Vegas can be a sports town."
Gallo, who was born in nearby Henderson and went to high school at the famed Bishop Gorman, said that people discount Las Vegas because of its main attraction, the casinos. But away from the Las Vegas Strip, there's a real city with real people doing real-life stuff.
"There are people living there," Gallo said. "There's a fan base there. I think it's great for the city, and it just shows the support there's going to be for the Raiders."
Ah, yes, the Oakland Raiders will be leaving Oakland Coliseum in 2020 for a spectacular new stadium across the interstate from The Strip. Gallo said that he has started following the Raiders, but they won't unseat his favorite NFL team.
Cover your eyes, Cowboys fans.
"My family's from New York, so I grew up a Giants fan," Gallo said.