Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Out in the Spotlight with the All-Star

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DENVER – From the moment he was born in 1999, the year his father was named his first All-Star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s recognition was inevitable. The spotlight shone even more when he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays at the age of 16.

“There was a bit of purely name-based hype around it,” said Liam Hendriks, who was closer to the Chicago White Sox who played in Toronto when Guerrero turned professional. “Then he came in and practiced batting – and at 16, that was something special.”

At Coors Field on Tuesday night, Guerrero went from genius to superstar. With a fielder with a high homer and run score, Guerrero won a Hall of Fame award that outdid his father: All-Star Game most valuable player.

American League won, 5-2for his eighth consecutive victory and his 20th victory in the last 24 All-Star Games. The night had an international feel: the winning shooter, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, Japanese; Hendriks Australian who got the rescue; and Guerrero is Dominican via Canada, where his father was born when playing for the Montreal Expos.

“We’re looking at a world game now,” Hendriks said, and later added, “Shohei is a walking billboard that hopefully will get more Japanese to come and come sooner.”

Several veterans refused to attend this year’s event despite being healthy enough to play for their team: Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, Jacob deGrom of the Mets and others. Against this background, Ohtani stood out as a particularly good sport and eagerly participated in the competition. Host Derby He serves as the starting pitcher of the AL on Monday and then the designated hitter on Tuesday.

He made the match for second place – NL even played in a shift for a show – and then retired the side in turn, with a fly and two field exits at the end of the first row. Ohtani picked up another bat, settled on the first base, and finally relaxed.

“It was definitely a lot more strenuous than the regular season, but if everyone had fun, I’m fine with that,” Ohtani said through a translator, and later added, “If more people are watching baseball, it makes me happy. . That’s good for the sport.”

Ohtani did not win a bounty, did not register a strike, and did not reach base. But he threw a ball 500 feet in the Home Run Derby and threw a ball at 100 miles per hour in the game, a mind-blowing mix of skill.

“He is out of this world,” Guerrero said through a translator. “He’s not from here. He’s amazing, I don’t even know what to say. Pitch, hit, incredible.”

Guerrero own magical season, leading on average (.332), base percentage (.430) and in strokes (73), to go with 28 homers. He and Ohtani were among the record-breaking 42-time All-Star debuts here, and after a pre-game moment of silence. hank harun – escorted to the field by his widow, Billye, Aaron Judge and Freddie Freeman – the game heralded a future led by players like Guerrero, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto, all just 22 years old.

“The truth is, they’re very excited, but very curious,” said Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, who manages the NL team. “They are the subject of this game and will be the subject of this game for the next ten years. For me, as someone who’s been around for a while, you have to embrace that. That youthful energy is great.”

Guerrero’s night could have taken a darker turn as he fired a ball right off Max Scherzer’s head at the start of the first game. Second baseman Adam Frazier fielded him and then threw Guerrero out, who hugged Scherzer. On Monday, Scherzer told Guerrero to be gentle with him.

“I’m alive and not hit by the ball – this is my success story,” Scherzer told reporters.

Guerrero pointed skyward after a third inning hit from Milwaukee’s that landed deep into the left midfielders from a hanging slider. Corbin Burnes, who took the loss. Guerrero had told some of his Blue Jays teammates that he would win the MVP, but they still could have predicted it.

“When he hit it, it was like, ‘There he was, we were waiting for him,'” said Blue Jays short-back Bo Bichette. “And then how much he hit, which is really not surprising. He’s amazing. Big stages do that all the time.”

There were more highlights to watch – Guerrero’s RBI took fifth place and took the AL lead to 3-0; Rays’ Mike Zunino, a sixth-place countercourt, pierced the second-deck homer; and Jared Walsh of the Angels, playing left field in the majors for the first time, finished game eight with a floating catch, with the bases full.

But MVP, until the end of Guerrero, was a fitting captain for the player with the most fan votes. The boy who was tagged in the All-Star Game with his father is now the youngest MVP in gaming history.

“Dreams come true,” Guerrero said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment since I was a kid; I’ve worked hard all my life. Thank God it’s happening now.”

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