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A Juanderful Weekend

2021 National League LatinoMVP Juan Soto, a finalist for the 2023 NL LatinoMVP, was presented his special Latino Sports shirt on Saturday night prior to the Blue Jays-Yankees game in the BX - Image Credit: Latino Sports

SOUTH BRONX, NY — I caught up with Juan Soto totally by chance on day two of the New York Yankees’ first home stand of the 2024 season. On day one, the Yankee home opener, we had a gift for both Soto and Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, who were each selected by the Latino Sports Writers & Broadcasters Association for the prestigious 34th annual LatinoMVP ballot.  

Unfortunately, we could not get to Juan as he was the most sought-after player on the Yankee side. Literally it was like a circus surrounding him and our experience has taught us that we stay away and try and catch up with the player on another day when things die down for the player.

Juan Soto in his pinstripes debut this past Friday – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

On day two, I happened to walk into the Yankee clubhouse to welcome a few players, Marcus Anthony Stroman being my focus. Marcus is also of Puerto Rican heritage by way of his mother, and I wanted to welcome him to the “Condado de La Salsa” (home of Salsa music). Before I reached the Clubhouse entrance, I saw Juan standing by himself and the Yankees-team interpreter apparently waiting for an interview. 

I turned to Juan and welcomed him. He looked and was trying to recognize me — I told him it was OK if he did not remember me as he meets so many people. I pointed to my Latino Sports cap, and he said, “I remember you. You guys gave me the award in San Diego” (We awarded him his 2020 LatinoMVP award in 2021 in San Diego). 

Juan Soto receiving the 2021 National League LatinoMVP Award by Latino Sports president and founder Julio Pabón at Petco Park in San Diego – Image Credit: Latino Sports

I then told him that we had a present for him. When I showed him his commemorative LatinoMVP shirt, he smiled and posed with it. I again congratulated him for being on this year’s ballot and told him he was still young and had many chances to win another LatinoMVP award. I also told him that Albert Pujols had won it a record nine times. Juan widened his eyes and smiled.

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