Toronto Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. emerging as city’s next superstar

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

With Kawhi leaving the best way to get over it is to have another superstar take his place and it appears the Toronto Blue Jays have that in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Toronto sports fans have become accustomed to seeing star players leave in less than ideal ways but when Kawhi Leonard’s decision came down, it hit harder than most.

After bringing a championship to the city it was a rude awakening of a reality that took away some of the charm of the victory that came after the winning a trophy that seemed almost impossible in the eyes of most.

In the hours that followed, what hurt more than anything else was the feeling that this city may have missed out on a true superstar – someone who might have wanted to be here, and was going to wear this city on their sleeve every day for years to come.

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Childish or not, it felt like Toronto lost that when Kawhi left.

However, it appears though that the Toronto Blue Jays might have the cure to the fans ailment.

Then at the Home Run Derby, it all changed.

29 glorious swings-of-the-bat later, and Canada had their new superstar.

And this time, he’s not even an adopted son.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smashed his way into millions of Twitter timelines and highlight clips electrifying this year’s home run derby with some much-needed star power.

Guerrero Jr. has had a pretty decent debut season thus far for the Jays, but his success has been somewhat ignored league-wide due to the Toronto Blue Jays dismal record.

Being 24.5 games back at the all-star break will make even the most die-hard fan tune out, but Vladdy Jr.’s output showed exactly why Jays games are as watchable now as they were in the playoff years.

Don’t whine and cry about the lack of superstars in this town.

Appreciate the one we have.

Monday night was a coronation, pure and simple – an exclamation point thrown onto an already impressive resume for a kid born to play the game.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is just 20 years old, and thanks to a (somewhat unfair) delayed call-up, the Jays will have his rights for 7 full years.

That means that for the first time since Roy Halladay, the Jays are guaranteed to have a young stud well into his prime, without the fear of it all falling apart year-to-year.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is already a household name for Blue Jay fans, but his home run derby performance and its promotion on social media showed what his stardom could be.

Whether the balls are juiced, or pitchers just can’t throw a curve like they used to, the fact remains – power will always attract fans in baseball.

And if Guerrero Jr. hitting a combined 91 balls out of the park in one evening doesn’t do it for you, then baseball isn’t the sport for you.

But if you live in the city of Toronto, or follow its teams, and you already knew what the rest of the league just figured out; it’s impossible to not feel hopeful.

One of the “next ones” is here in Toronto.

The next generation of superstars will be spearheaded by our own third baseman, a generation that won’t put us through contract headaches and abandonment.

And to make things even better, he’s a good ol’ Canadian boy, who actually wants to be here.

If in the next seven years, the Jays can build a winner, then our young superstar will learn what Kawhi learned.

If you bring this city a championship, then the city is yours.


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