Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins MVP, AL claims eighth straight MLB All-Star Game
DENVER — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is simply 22 years of ages, yet currently fluent in satisfying fates.
It is now Guerrero, and not his Hall of Popularity dad, controling the American League, as a lot of pictured when Vladito was simply a kid in extra-large shorts trailing his papa around the ballyard.
And after a very first half in which he knocked 28 crowning achievement and led the big leagues in batting and OPS, rising him to his very first All-Star Video game, he made a guarantee to Blue Jays colleagues Lourdes Gurriel and George Springer: That he’d get back with the video game’s MVP prize.
After knocking a pitch 468 feet through Colorado’s thin air, and enhancing the AL to a 5-2 success over the National League, it deserves keeping in mind whatever this 6-2, 250-pound barrel of power and happiness may next intend to attain.
“Dreams come true,” Guerrero stated, the video game’s MVP prize riding shotgun on the postgame podium. “Since I was a kid I’ve always been thinking about this moment.
“I’ve worked all my life, extremely hard, and thank God it’s occurring now.”
Major League Baseball might say the same about Guerrero, Shohei Ohtani and a gaggle of other players who have provided a balm for the game after a pandemic-wracked 2020 and a transitional period in the game that has industry leaders and fans seemingly on perpetual alert.
On this night, the most important stars shone brightest.
Ohtani made history, earning the victory with a flawless first inning of work and grounding out twice, fulfilling his own superlative as the first player in baseball history to earn All-Star selections as a hitter and pitcher. Guerrero nearly beheaded, then hugged, a surefire Hall of Famer.
Along with a pitching staff that allowed just eight hits, that was more than enough for the AL to register its eighth consecutive All-Star triumph over the NL and 15th in the last 18 games.
While the stage was set for two-way legend Ohtani, it was Guerrero who captured the buzz.
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At 22 years and 119 days, Guerrero became the youngest to be named MVP of the All-Star Game. Ken Griffey Jr. was 22 years and 236 days old when he won the award in 1992.
After Ohtani led off the game with a groundout, Guerrero, the Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger whose 28 first-half homers were second to Ohtani’s 33, unloaded on a pitch from Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
It was 111.1 mph off the bat, and just inches from Scherzer’s head. In the regular season, the sequence might have inspired Mad Max to stomp a couple laps around the man.
In this exhibition, he accepted Guerrero’s loving embrace on his way back to the dugout.
“I’m alive,” Scherzer, famously heterochromiatic, said after his scoreless inning. “That’s the success story. I’m just grateful I still have a blue eye and a brown eye.”
Said Guerrero: “At the Crowning Achievement Derby, he was joking with and stated, hello, relax on me tomorrow. After the line drive, I simply wished to offer him a hug.”
Guerrero’s average exit velocity of 95.2 mph ranks second in the majors and nobody’s hit more than the 45 balls of at least 110 mph he struck in the first half.
His first rocket nearly damaged Scherzer; his second just did damage to the NL.
Guerrero blasted a Corbin Burnes pitch 468 feet to left field in the third inning, giving the AL a 2-0 lead, sending a murmur through the Coors Field crowd and inspiring a drive-by exchange with Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., his fellow second-generation superstar.
He’d later drive in Blue Jays teammate Teoscar Hernandez with an RBI groundout, while Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino clobbered a home run off Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker.
Angels outfielder Jared Walsh – playing left field for the first time as a major leaguer – ended the last serious threat, making a nifty sliding catch of a sinking Kris Bryant line drive to bail Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes out of a bases-loaded situation in the eighth.
Ohtani? He made some memories of his own, pitching a scoreless first inning, grounding out twice but also reveling in the experience, which came a day after his Home Run Derby debut.
Segueing from the batter’s box to the pitcher’s mound looked so simple Tuesday. His colleagues know better.
“We’re all still in wonder of his capability to do that,” said AL and Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash. “The method he dealt with whatever was quite exceptional.”
The same could be said for Guerrero, who has largely been tasked with becoming a Blue Jays cornerstone since they signed him as a 16-year-old in 2015. The climb was quick but the final leap to superstar took a moment – took a moment – Guerrero dropped more than 40 pounds last winter after a weight gain during baseball’s COVID-19 shutdown.
The game isn’t all the way back. This 91st All-Star Game showed it’s in very good hands.
“There’s a great deal of things we’re coming out of, with the pandemic,” says Cash. (Ohtani’s) talent, to get baseball going again was a big part of it. He and Vladdy Guerrero Jr. have so much on their plate. The way they handle it with such humility and class is what stands out.”
The audience values it: Ohtani’s every motion was welcomed raucously by the 49,000 fans loading Coors Field Monday and Tuesday nights.
“I was simply thankful for all the cheers and all the support I get,” he stated.
The most significant assistance Tuesday originated from a compelling device they call Vladito.
This post initially appeared on U.S.A. TODAY: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. powers AL to 8th straight All-Star Video game win
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.