Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Takes Beating the Yankees Personally

The subsequent time the son of a street workforce’s celebrity visits the Bronx, the Yankees can be smart to deal with him properly. Kids with lengthy recollections and extraordinary expertise enjoyment of revenge.

In the Nineties, it was Ken Griffey Jr. Now, it’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Just as Griffey tormented the Yankees repeatedly in his prime, Guerrero, 24, is doing the similar in his. The newest punches came visiting the weekend in a collection victory for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Guerrero, their slugging first baseman, blasted a two-run homer to begin the scoring on Friday. On Sunday he did it once more, pulling a blistering liner into the seats close to the left area foul pole with two outs in the sixth inning. The Blue Jays went on to win, 5-1, and the Yankees misplaced a collection for the first time this season.

As he rounded first base, Guerrero pointed skyward. He stutter-stepped on his means round third. He kissed his wrists as he pranced house. The crowd booed, and Guerrero reveled in it.

“Of course, you take heed to it,” Guerrero, who’s hitting .341, mentioned in Spanish by means of an interpreter. “But they are not going to take that house run away from me. I’m simply going to proceed to run the bases and revel in it.”

Although Guerrero can’t be a free agent till after the 2025 Major League Baseball season, he vowed publicly final low season to by no means play for the Yankees. The declaration echoed one by Griffey, then with the Seattle Mariners, who was filmed signing autographs at outdated Yankee Stadium and vowed: “If they had been the solely workforce that gave me a contract, I’d retire.”

Griffey’s stance got here from a sobering incident as a young person, when he was sitting along with his father, Ken Sr., on the Yankees’ bench earlier than a recreation. A safety guard instructed the Griffeys that the Yankees’ proprietor, George Steinbrenner, had issued an edict to clear the dugout. They did, however not earlier than Ken Sr. identified that the son of a teammate, Graig Nettles, was taking grounders at third base at that very second.

The takeaway — {that a} white participant was given privileges not afforded a black participant — emboldened the youthful Griffey, who hit 41 homers towards the Yankees in his profession, together with 5 in a five-game playoff collection victory in 1995. (Only one workforce, (the Minnesota Twins, allowed extra homers to Griffey.)

Guerrero’s father, Vladimir Sr., by no means performed for a New York workforce in his Hall of Fame profession, though his profession common towards the Yankees (.319, together with the postseason) is a bit higher than his .316 profession mark all through the common season. and playoffs. Whatever the origin of Guerrero’s concern with the Yankees, it appears to chop simply as deeply.

“It’s a private factor,” he mentioned Sunday. “It goes again with my household, and I’m not going to speak about greater than that. Things occurred in the previous and I’m simply going to go away it like that.”

Like Griffey Jr., Guerrero Jr. has thrived towards the Yankees. His slugging share at Yankee Stadium is .614, the better of any participant in the ballpark’s 15-year historical past (minimal 100 at-bats). His 12 homers in the Bronx are the most he has hit in any street stadium.

“You get right here and also you get booed, and you’ll type of do considered one of two issues,” Blue Jays Manager John Schneider mentioned. “Reggie Jackson mentioned, ‘They do not boo no one,’ so I believe Vladdy type of labored off of that just a little bit. We all know the type of hitter that he’s.”

Toronto starter Kevin Gausman, who blanked the Yankees for seven innings on Sunday, mentioned Guerrero basks in the heel’s position.

“It looks as if he loves taking part in right here,” Gausman mentioned. “He says he does not like coming right here, however he performs fairly properly right here. Anytime he comes as much as bat, we’re all paying consideration as a result of he simply hits the ball so laborious. He’s a man that type of likes being the villain once we come right here.”

The Blue Jays’ George Springer has expertise with heckling; He performed for the champion Houston Astros in 2017, the yr of their sign-stealing scandal, and was amongst the gamers booed by opposing followers as soon as the scheme was revealed. Springer mentioned Guerrero is calm by nature, trusting in his expertise and his course of. But it’s a subtlety that impresses Springer most.

“How he processes data is next-level,” Springer mentioned. “He’s a scholar of the recreation in his personal means. The means he goes about issues, I imply, he remembers every little thing.”

Including, fairly clearly, one thing from the previous that drives Guerrero to conquer the Yankees each likelihood he will get.

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