Masters of friendly trash talk, Soto and Acuña go jab for jab

April 10th, 2023

It might be time to give Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña Jr. their own buddy comedy. Sure, they might be star rivals in a packed National League, but there's nothing better than some friendly ribbing between two of the best young players in baseball.

Sitting side by side in the stands for an interview with Eduardo Perez on Sunday Night Baseball, Soto and Acuña played off one another like a seasoned comedy duo, especially when they were asked about who has the longer home run trot. Soto wasted no time in pointing at the flashy bat flip aficionado beside him.

"He takes two hours," Soto quipped. "He waves to the dugout, he handshakes the first-base coach, waves to the bullpen, gives two hops at second, rounding third base he goes left, he goes right, he jumps up."

Soto was referring in part to Acuña's signature Euro step celebration, but the Braves star was not going down without getting a few shots of his own in.

"But you sit there talking to the catcher the whole time," Acuña fired back. "And you didn't do that when you were in Washington?"

Their days as NL East rivals may be in the rearview, but Acuña obviously didn't forget some of Soto's own lengthy trips around the bases. Though it wasn't against his Braves, Acuña might have been thinking of Soto famously carrying his bat to first base with him after homering in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series, a move that was mimicking what Alex Bregman had done earlier in the game.

"But that was just one time," Soto said. "Out of the 40 home runs you hit, 39 times you do this celebration."

We'll give Soto the benefit of the doubt that this was a bit of a backhanded compliment, acknowledging Acuña's 40-homer season in 2019, a mark that Soto has yet to reach.

Acuña had to bury his face in his hands to keep from cracking up during Soto's rant. In the interest of, well, facts, their home run trot times actually don't differ a great deal. Soto's average in 2022 was 27.67 seconds, while Acuña's was 28.92. Both of them got around the bases a lot quicker as rookies in 2018 (Soto: 23.14 seconds, Acuña: 24.59 seconds), but something about turning into a star and perennial MVP contender makes your home run trots just a little bit lengthier. And for good reason.

There were some moments of flattery throughout the interview as well, including Soto marveling at Acuña's speed and the Braves star admitting the Padres slugger can "hit it wherever he wants." But it always came back to friendly trash talk, like their joint recap of Acuña robbing Soto of extra bases on Friday night.

"I told him, 'you can't hit it to me, because I'll catch it. Hit a homer.'"

And what did Soto go out and do the following day? Take a guess. Here's to many more years of these two going at it, both on the field and behind the mic.