You better watch Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s debut live or you'll be kicking yourself for decades
The baseball world has seemingly been waiting for it for years, and now, it's finally here. Vlad Guerrero Jr. -- the No. 1 prospect in baseball -- is set to make his MLB debut with the Blue Jays on Friday night.
Maybe you've already heard something about the man they call Vladito. Maybe you remember his dad doing stuff like this. Maybe you haven't read the name Vladimir Guerrero Jr. until right now and keep asking yourself what the fuss is all about. But no matter who you are, one thing is certain: If you don't watch his first Major League game live, you -- and, heck, your kids and grandkids too -- will never let yourself live it down.
That homer took place back on March 28, 2018, the exclamation point on Toronto's two-game exhibition series against the Cardinals in Montreal. And despite the fact that it was a Spring Training game; despite the fact that he'd just turned 19 less than two weeks earlier, with no experience above Class A; despite the fact that it took place five and a half hours away from the Blue Jays' home ballpark -- the crowd lost its mind. Feel the affection in that reaction. Listen to this (extremely French) call. He took what should've been a nice curio and turned it into one of the most unforgettably moving moments of the year, in any sport.
That ineffable something -- that ability to grab every single bystander by the collar and not let them look away -- is what Vladito is. He's not just a prospect -- he's the prospect. Even baseball's best young talents -- the Bryce Harpers and Kris Bryants of the world -- arrive in The Show with a hint of uncertainty. Guerrero brings all the uncertainty of a Mack truck: Toronto put him in Double-A last year at just 19 -- five years younger than the average player in his league -- and he hit .402 (no, seriously). So they moved him to Triple-A this year, and he's hit .360.
Roll that beautiful Vlad Jr. footage ... pic.twitter.com/ONK5QNfgB5— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 18, 2019
He is, put simply, the reason we watch sports: the opportunity to see another human being -- someone ostensibly like us in some fundamental way, however bigger or stronger -- do something for which we have no reasonable explanation. You didn't need to know the first thing about basketball to know in your bones that LeBron James was singular, and that watching him mattered. You could tell from the things he was able to do, the air in every arena he walked into even as a 17-year-old. This was a moment; something was happening.
That something, and the chance to share in it from the very beginning, doesn't come around too often. Generational players are, well, generational. But on Friday night, we'll get to watch one -- someone who's been a part of sports history for nearly his entire life -- take the biggest stage (and take aim at Major League pitching) for the first time. Toronto will be out of control. Taylor Swift will almost certainly be watching. So do yourself a favor: Tune in, and save yourself the hassle of having to lie about how You Remember When he was just a kid with his whole career in front of him.