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W: Ken Giles (1-1) | L: Yusmeiro Petit (0-1)
Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
Attendance: 28,688 - Time of Game: 2:50 - Weather: Dome
Vladimir Guererro Jr. Debuts
Once Blue Jays announced that Vladimir Guererro Jr. would be added to their roster and debut Friday, April 26th against the A’s, I knew that I had to be at that game. Everything about this young man life so far connects emotionally with this Montréaler.
On top of being the top prospect in the minor leagues, Vladdy Jr. happens to be the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guererro, who was one of the best Montréal Expos ever. Junior was also born in Montréal, and I have memories of him at the Olympic Stadium as a toddler. Vladimir Jr. also offered me the best Montreal baseball experience in over 15 years, when he hit a walk-off home run to end the exhibition games of 2018. It’s all magical and unique if you care at all about this great game.
When I got to the Rogers Centre at 4:30 pm to take in the Blue Jays batting practice, which is rarely open to the public, there were already thousands of fans, and hundreds of reporters there to see Valddy Jr. take some swings. Vladimir Guererro Sr. was on the field, and receiving quite a bit of attention himself. The young man didn’t disappoint, hitting a couple of balls off the WestJet Flight Deck and smacking the George Bell wall.
Once Vladimir Guererro Sr. settled into his skybox with friends, family and some Expos Nation fans, all 28,688 of the rest of us created a playoff-like atmosphere to welcome Vlad to major league baseball. After grounding out in the bottom of the 2nd, to a standing ovation, he returned in the bottom of the 4th and hit a deep fly ball to left field that everyone thought was going out of the park. Vlad Jr.’s first hit came in the bottom of the 9th, with a double up the middle to spark a walk-off home run win on a single by Brandon Drury.
P.S. Vlad Jr. is a solid fielder with a strong and accurate throwing arm. All the talk of his fielding needed work in the minors was a bunch of hooey.