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From Dad’s speech to Drake’s embrace: Inside Vlad Jr.’s Toronto welcome

Less than 48 hours earlier, Guerrero was sitting at breakfast with his grandparents, Altagracia and Damián, imagining what his much-anticipated major league debut would be like. While he ate his breakfast, he pictured making contact with the ball in his first at-bat. He thought about his heroics in Montreal in exhibition games and how fans would be expecting more of the same, but making contact was all he wanted. “Just wait for a good pitch, make contact and don’t strike out,” he said to himself.

Major League Baseball had reached out to present him with his father’s Montreal Expos jersey to wear to the ballpark on Friday. Guerrero had the option of wearing the classic powder blue jersey, but opted for the pinstripes everyone had come to know from a legendary picture of Junior, then 5 years old, standing next to his father.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The first person he saw in the clubhouse, which was larger and brighter than he remembered, was outfielder Billy McKinney, whose first words were, “You look really good; have you lost weight?” Guerrero gave the outfielder a bear hug as McKinney congratulated him on his promotion.5

As Guerrero headed to his locker, in between those of pitcher Clay Buchholz and catcher Luke Maile, he thought about whether there would be questions about his weight. He was very proud of losing 22 pounds, but at the same time, he didn’t care. This day, his first day in the majors, was about so much more than that.

Dozens of cameras followed his every step. When he walked out to the field for stretch, Justin Smoak and Teoscar Hernandez razzed him about the attention. He laughed and took it in stride, as throngs of media captured his every move.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Guerrero spoke to his dad briefly before the game. As Senior addressed the media, Junior picked up his bat, which is the same size and weight as his father’s, 34 inches and 32 ounces, and headed to the cage. He yelled in Spanish, asking his father if he had seen Smoak, who wanted to say hello; Senior said he had.

After one of the most documented and photographed batting practices in Rogers Centre history, “Vladdy” (as he has been nicknamed by the media) made sure to stop in front of the dugout to give a hug to his grandma and introduce her to teammate Rowdy Tellez, who thanked her in his limited Spanish for all the food she cooked for them in the minors and during the spring. Doña Altagracia smiled and hugged them both goodbye.

Guerrero looked forward to some quiet time with his teammates. Inside the clubhouse, they made fun of him because of all the media attention, but there was no rookie hazing. He was ready; he knew he belonged, and always had. He felt right at home.