TORONTO – walk from the hotel to the ballpark is short, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
He's wearing an Expos shirt, not just an exposure shirt. It has its father's name and number in the Hall of Fame – a reminder not only of Vlad Jr's enormous promise, but also of the hopes of baseball numbers.
It's a few minutes before lunch. His first day as a big guard is about to come out…
The door of the club house opens and opens in Guerrero Jr. Now he's wearing a white Toronto Blue Jays shirt and a white panel of Blue Jays.
After some congratulations with his hands, he sits at the pedestal of the team in the media conference room. There are over 50 media players from places serving English, Spanish and French speaking audiences. A few minutes earlier, GM explained the importance of the moment from the same place.
"We have a Canadian-born Dominican baseball player," said Ross Atkins. "Son of Famera, coming to Canada to play this great city and country."
Guerrero Jr's report is lower. Speaking in Spanish with the help of Hector Lebron, he answers the largest number of questions in the book. He wants better every day. He can control so much. And yes, he is happy here.
At a recent press conference he gets some laughing stories about why he has so much plate discipline as his father. When he was seven years old, Vlad remembers he turned to the square that hit him. Since then, he has been more selective.
After 20 minutes, all the questions were answered. It's time to practice.
The cameras are probably a dozen of them, being trained at the dugout entrance, waiting for Guerrero Jr to arrive at the field level. He appears, sticks in his hand and turns to the right, walking along an empty hill. It features an end strap. He puts a lone stick in one of the top slits. Barrels go first. The end of the stick appears at no. 27.
Back in the club, Guerrero Jr is a few minutes before the team stretches. He spends them on club-style chairs that speak to Socrates Brito and relief Joe Biagini, who kisses Guerrero Jr's hands.
A few steps away, Charlie Montoyo has created her own composition. His latest infielder bat is fifth and plays third tonight.
4:00 pm In the afternoon.
Time to stretch. Guerrero Jr joins his Blue Jays team members to limit the left field line. The shirt he wore at a press conference has been replaced with long sleeves, a blue training shirt.
The cameras are followed by Guerrero Jr., but they are not the only observers. Directed by Vladimir Sr, the Guerrero family, who is there in full force.
Within minutes, Blue Jays takes the grass that they don't always do. Maybe they want to look forward to the new arrival or maybe it's a coincidence. Guerrero Jr. It doesn't seem particularly worrying. He just fields coach Shelley Duncan hits his way and throws them across diamonds.
Most days, the silence of the stadium at this point, except for the music that surpasses the stadium speakers, and during the occasional callout during the gym. Today is a little different. Realizing that fans will want to see their highest prospects, Blue Jays opens words one hour before early.
"I can't imagine what this pressure is 20 years old," says Montoyo.
Because Guerrero Jrs is approaching a cage, some thousands of fans are applauding. However, they will have to wait because the rookie just hit Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez once.
BP starts off with one half and a counterattack, but Guerrero Jr. One ball leaves the third deck in the left field. Another land is deep in the center field plane. The third remains low – perhaps at 25 feet – but still leaves the yard.
Each time he connects, his teammates follow the ball with the fans.
"Hey, someone else hit him," says Tellez, the next lift.
"Now you have to do it," says Smoak.
Between BP, Guerrero Jr. He's all smiling, even if his teammates can't surprise him for a bad time. Then, after 15 minutes in the cage, it's time for a new group. Guerrero Jr collects baseballs at the house plate, puts them in a bucket of next hitters and inside the head.
Guerrero Jr has no mistake when he takes the pitch before the first step. Even at the age of 20 he is bigger than most players. If in doubt, these gold dreadlocks help to identify him from afar.
Fans – many of whom are already wearing their shirt – seem enthusiastic about his presence in Toronto. They stand out as Guerrero Jr. Rush to the central square to greet former teammate Kendriel Morales and cheer up even more when his name is announced as part of the starting line. Even seemingly harmless gestures, such as throwing illegal ball stands, get applause from 28,688 visitors.
As Marcus Stroman warms up, he expects him to have the best chance for the first time.
"Perhaps as excited as the entire fan base," says Stroman. "He will give us a huge small edge."
Fans are the feet that sing "Let's Go, Vladdy" as Guerrero Jr. His chosen music: Old Riga road. It's time.
True to form, Guerrero Jr takes the first pitch he sees from Mike Fiers. This is one of the 17 he will see today. For the fifth half of this bat, he fires at 106.8 m.p.h. immerse in the first substrate. Morales, who played with Guerrero Sr in Anaheim, before his son's advice this spring, is ready to fill it. Guerrero Jr. officially 0-for-1.
Guerrero Jr. is here because his bat. He can throw and he moves quite well, but his stick is still over the rest of the game and everyone knows it.
"Is he a little less than the average of the largest thirds? We'll see," Atkins said on Friday. "I'm sure he could come here and speak as the average third baseman, but we want him to be great. We're firing him to be extraordinary, not just average."
So far, right. When Stephen Piscotty grinds the ribbing against the third, Guerrero Jr pays the fields for a short hop and leaves the diamond.
"I was more nervous than he was," then Montoyo says. "You have to be comfortable to do this. That's when I knew," yes, he's relaxed. ""
Bomb in second place. After counting his work for him, Guerrero Jr takes a large cut in the 3-1 field and sends it deep to the left of the field. The crowd is waiting for his first big league homer, but Chad Pinders competes and makes catches high against the wall, turning double out. 0-par-2.
When Pinder bats follow the wonders, Blue Jays fans greet him with bosses.
Faced with Fiers for the third time, Guerrero Jr. Now that he has seen him a few times, he goes beyond the tips he got in the batting cage.
The first berth flap arrives inside, supporting Guerrero Jr. It makes little dance from Vlad, calling to remember Adrian Beltre, one of his most admired players.
Guerrero Jr. joins by beating the ball 99.8 m.p.h. to the right. He has been in close contact again, but it is not far enough to avoid the Piscotty grip. With it Vlad 0 for 3.
Another strunder of Stroman who deals tonight. This is the third solid base line. Blue Jays, like their third basics, play closer to the short, so Guerrero Jr. has to turn back and get to the right. By the time he does, his impulse to leave the dam and Pinders fly along the line. Time to check this hand. Guerrero Jr. Load up and fire on the line to Smoak. Arrival.
"I tell him how I feel about it," says Stroman. "He showed this cannon. I was able to sit here and take him all day to be honest with you."
If you think you walk on foot, because Guerrero Jr is going to the plate at the ninth, you're not alone. With a score of 2-2, Guerrero runs off. He could end it with one swing right here.
Fans are singing "Vlady" again, and his manager asks "what will happen if."
"It was almost like an" oh god, whom he could get to the end, "says Montoyo.
Homer will have to wait, but Guerrero Jr. Send the ball down to double the first baseline of his first team career. It is the fourth hard day of the day, when Guerrero Jr., who blows his hands, is absorbed into the second base. 1 for 4
"I don't know if people understand how good this guy is," he says. "He's before his years."
Later, three bacteria, Guerrero Jr. Dugout, replaced with a pinch of runner, when Brandon Drurie came to the stroke. Wishing to celebrate his first victory as Guerrero Jr.
After a while, he holds Drury with Gatorade.
Guerrero Jr. Not released from post-shower. After the game his teammates place him in a laundry bag and cover with Bud Light and shaving cream. Welcome to the big leagues.
Guerrero Jr. stops his second media availability daily and goes back to the club. Soon he will return to the hotel room to sleep before the two.
First, he has to collect some of his MLB memorabilia to give his father. A bat, a ball – maybe even a suit.
"Just as I dreamed," he says.