After a few stressful weeks of grimly holding on to component stats and baseball’s actuarial tables, it is was nice to be taken in by a pair of raw, visceral thrills.
Most balls need to be hit twice to go where Vladimir Guerrero Jr sent his home runs last night. To hit bombs through the soupy air over Oracle Park is a feat in and of itself, to hit no doubt missiles is the stuff of legend.
It was always coming, but it remains very reassuring to finally see Guerrero break out, to realize what it looks like when the swing and the power and the uncanny handspeed all come together. More than reassuring, it was deeply satisfying, exhilarating even. No need for exit velocity-fueled “well, actually” statements when the sound of a batted ball tells the entire story.
There are almost no bad 440-foot home runs but timing always matters. These hits coming on the heals of Guerrero’s strong series against the White Sox renewed the sense of anticipation that accompanies every at bat. “Maybe this will be the one?” The one came just after 10pm Eastern, with Nick Vincent on the mound and a large contingent of Blue Jays fans in the seats in San Francisco. For the foreseeable future, when are back in a mode where every time he digs in, everyone watching silently wonders ‘how far will this one go?’
When asked about it postgame, Guerrero was matter of fact about his big league bombs, confessing that he “knew it was going to be good” as he “made very good contact.” As if there was an alternative way to hit a baseball 115 mph and 450 feet, Guerrero helpfully added “I hit it on the barrel.”
He did indeed hit it on the barrel. He’s going to keep doing pretty much exactly that. The first of many, as they say, though he won’t hit two home runs every night. But there are so many more doubles yanked into corners, scalded line drives to test the limits of parks much smaller than the expansive confines by the bay - a place that for one night, didn’t look like it needed to have its fences moved anywhere but back.