Everyone knows that Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is already a stud at his young age, but taking his talents to the MLB All-Star Game, as he did on Tuesday night, should bring a whole new level of celebrity.
With three other teammates represented at the mid-season event, Guerrero Jr. stole the show from start to finish. The 22-year-old was at center stage and did not crumble under the pressure of attention.
Whether it was laughing off a line drive that nearly hit Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, or launching a 468-foot bomb of a home run off National League Cy Young candidate Corbin Burnes, whenever Vladdy was on camera, it was his show.
The draw of attention — and driving in two runs in his three at-bats — earned him the title of All-Star Game MVP, the first Blue Jays player to ever be crowned and the youngest ever player in MLB history to do it.
🏆 “I am the MVP” 🏆
We couldn’t have done it without YOU! pic.twitter.com/CJmRbKqgbW
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 14, 2021
“I can’t wait to get back to hear what Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer have to say about this,” Guerrero, speaking through interpreter Hector Lebron, said afterwards. “Before I left I made a promise to them that I was going to win the MVP and they said, 'you better win the MVP. If not, don’t come back.'”
If it wasn’t for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani and what he is accomplishing as a two-way player, Guerrero Jr. might be able to add American League MVP to his trophy cabinet along with the title he earned on Tuesday night. Through 87 games and 316 plate appearances, he is leading the entire major leagues in batting average (.332), on-base percentage (.430), OPS (1.089), and RBI (73).
“I appreciate what he’s done for our game and our fans,” said AL manager Kevin Cash. “There's a lot of stuff that we are coming out of, obviously, with the pandemic, and for his talent to get baseball going again, he's been a big part of it. So the appreciation goes to him and similar to Vlad Guerrero Jr. Those guys have so much on their plate and the way they handle it with such humility, class and go about their business, that’s probably the thing that stands out.”
The 45-42 Blue Jays are sitting eight games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox at this midway point this season, but just four-and-a-half games behind the division rival Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card race.
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