This story is for anyone who says baseball is boring. For anyone who says it should fade into the past. For anyone who prefers football because baseball is the slow, old typewriter to football’s faster laptop computer.
To all of you haters out there, I not-so-politely say, shut the hell up. Because baseball is magic. It’s full of little moments that, both individually and combined, make baseball a special part of the human experience, something that both distracts us from and improves our humdrum lives.
Last night, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had one of those moments that reaffirm my unshakeable belief that baseball is the greatest.
If the name sounds familiar, just take away the “Jr.” and harken back to the years 1996-2011, when Vladimir Guerrero Sr. was the one crushing home runs for the Expos, Angels, Rangers, and Orioles. The Vlad-Father was a nine-time All-Star, eight-time Silver Slugger, and 2004 AL MVP. He finished his career with 2,590 hits, 1,496 RBIs, 449 home runs, and a career batting average of .318.
Guerrero Sr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, and now, his son is following in his footsteps. At 19 years old, he’s the top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and MLB’s 3rd best prospect in baseball.
Young Vlad is currently scheduled to start the season with Toronto’s Double-A team, but in last night’s exhibition game in Montreal, the final game of their Spring Training, he played with the big boys. This was especially meaningful for the Guerrero family because Vlad Jr. was born in Montreal in 1999, when his father played for the Expos.
For what was essentially his homecoming game, Junior wore 27, his father’s old number. He told reporters postgame that he hadn’t requested to wear his father’s number, but someone from the Blue Jays organization had put the new jersey in his bag as a surprise.
But it gets so much better. Because while wearing 27, with two outs in the 9th inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. absolutely smashed a walk-off home run to propel the Blue Jays to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
As beautiful as this moment was for us baseball fans, can you imagine how wonderful it was for father and son? The universe could not have aligned in a more perfect way for Vladimir Guerrero to pass the baton to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
It’s like Field Of Dreams, except this is real life and a million times better.