HomeSportsVladimir Guerrero Jr. 'proud' to honor his father with Home Run Derby...

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ‘proud’ to honor his father with Home Run Derby crown – UnlistedNews

SEATTLE — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. paused for a second, then grinned.

With a Home Run Derby chain that Marshawn Lynch had draped over his shoulders minutes earlier, his shiny trophy sitting in front of him, Guerrero was asked if he or his Hall of Famer father would have won the competition in their prime. . The new derby champion took a second to ponder the question.

“It’s a little difficult,” Guerrero said through a translator before evoking a response. “Over time, minutes, I would win. If it’s by outs, he would win.”

Luckily for him, the format was the previous one Monday night at T-Mobile Park, where Guerrero’s game-winning performance over Randy Arozarena made Vlad Sr. and Vlad Jr. the first father-son duo to win each one a Home Run Derby. Guerrero doesn’t remember much about his father’s victory in 2007, when he was only 8 years old. But 16 years later, he won’t forget the memories he made on Monday.

His extended family surrounded him in the field after he joined his father in the derby record books.

“My family is the one that pushed me to do this,” Guerrero said. “This is for them.”

They wanted to see him back in competition, trying to talk him into it again after his 2019 show at Progressive Field. That year, a rookie Guerrero hit 40 home runs in the semifinals to surpass Joc Pederson, setting a record for most home runs in one round and heralding his arrival in the majors with authority.

Guerrero wasn’t an All-Star that season, but Major League Baseball knew the 20-year-old, who posted a 118.9 mph exit velocity that season, needed to get in on the festivities. It seemed that any baseball that touched his bat in the 2019 Home Run Derby could orbit the Earth.

The Blue Jays first baseman finished his first contest with a derby-record 91 home runs in one of the greatest performances of all time, but he was not victorious. In the final, he succumbed to exhaustion, losing 23-22 to Pete Alonso.

Did Guerrero learn anything about rhythm from that experience?

“Nothing at all,” he said with a smile Monday night. “Everyone was telling me to calm down, to calm down, but you just can’t. You just have to keep hitting home runs.”

In this round, Guerrero needed only 72 home runs over the three rounds to come out on top. If he had to choose which he would prefer, the record-breaking round of 2019 or the win in 2023, it’s not a question.

“Definitely to win everything,” he said.

In 10 career regular-season games at T-Mobile Park, Guerrero has never homered. That didn’t matter Monday, with his manager John Schneider guiding him as his pitcher. Guerrero homered 26 in the first round to defeat Mookie Betts, then upset the home crowd with 21 in the second round. It was enough to defeat local star Julio Rodríguez, who was coming off a monstrous 41-home run performance in the first round that broke Guerrero’s record.

Like Guerrero four years earlier, it looked like Rodríguez might have worn himself out after an unforgettable first-round performance, one Guerrero expected from Rodríguez in front of a crowd packed with green and navy jerseys, many with the number 44 on the back. . .

“With Julio, it’s like a brotherhood,” Guerrero said. “Our competition was great. You could tell, like I said before, that he really wanted to win. But I came out on top.”

It took some perseverance. Guerrero could tell throughout this competition that he was tiring much faster than he was as a teenager four years ago. In the final against Arozarena, he looked exhausted and took a timeout before he finished his first minute.

But mustering every ounce left in the tank, he got going to hit 14 home runs in his final 73 seconds to finish with 25. It was enough to get past Arozarena, even after the dynamic Rays outfielder tore his boots from the luck and put the Warriors in a category by themselves.

“I feel great, very happy,” Guerrero said, “very proud that my father and I won the Derby.”

rowan kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports. He was previously the editor of digital and print publications for the Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.

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