Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Has Perfect Timing
10:31 AM EDT on July 14, 2021
Your mileage may vary on how interesting it is to listen to an MLB player talk to Joe Buck in the middle of an exhibition game, but there's not a more ideal baseball kid to take the mic—any mic—than San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. During the top of the third in an All-Star Game that the AL eventually won 5-2, Tatis did just that, and ended up chatting on TV while his buddy and his countryman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came up to the plate.
What followed could not have been more perfectly timed if it had been scripted. Here's what it sounded like:
Joe Buck: We understand that Vlad Jr.'s grandmother's food is what's keeping everybody healthy and strong in the big leagues.
Tatis: (Chuckles) Yes, healthy and happy.
Right on cue, the 22-year-old Vladito blasted a no-doubter way, way, back into the farthest seats in left field in Coors. At 468 feet, it would have been a jaw-dropping shot even in the previous night's derby, and it had Tatis on camera raising his arms in disbelief.
"Quédate para un rato más," the mic caught Tatis yelling to Vladdy on the trip around the bases.
"He should have admired it a little more. It's the All-Star Game, boy, have fun," he clarified to the announcers.
Here it is as called by the Dominican artist El Alfa El Jefe.
Guerrero would go on to take MVP honors for both the show-stealing home run and an RBI groundout that made it 3-0 in the fifth. The NL did their best to make it a decent contest in the later innings, going so far as to load the bases in a 5-2 game in the eighth. But then another newcomer—27-year-old Angels first baseman Jared Walsh—robbed Kris Bryant with a nice catch in an unfamiliar position on a sinking ball hit to left.
I'm trying again not to fall into the columnist's trap of categorizing everything that happens in this sport as either Good For Baseball or Bad For Baseball, so I'll just say that this was a fun little night of lightly competitive action that did a stellar job of highlighting a bunch of dudes who all seemed to be having a great time, chief among whom were the two young friends with the big-league dads. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Tatis and Vlad were both born in 1999, and it's even more difficult the more you see their fully mature talent and confidence. Tatis didn't even do anything in this game and still shined. And Vlad brought enough hitting for the both of them.