South Bronx, NY: Yankee stadium has been buzzing since opening day and a lot is because the teams that the Yankees have faced, the Red Sox for the opening day series and yesterday the Blue Jays. Both teams have many popular and some of the most exciting players in the league.
One player, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays is one of those high-profile players that has reporters and sports writers always circling his locker and his every step on the field for an interview. I too wanted to interview Vladimir, but for a different reason. My task was to inform him that he was the winner of the prestigious LatinoMVP award.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was selected as the 2021 American League LatinoMVP winner by members of the Latino Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association, Latino Sports and independent sports writers throughout the country and the Caribbean. The LatinoMVP award is the oldest and most prestigious award given to Latino baseball players. The award was first given to Ruben Sierra a Puerto Rican player for the Texas Rangers in 1990 for his 1989 baseball season when many in the Latino community believed that he was overlooked by the BBWAA for the American League MVP.
I had the task of trying to get a few moments and the attention of a player that many other sports personnel also wanted. I followed the professional protocol of speaking to the Blue Jays Communications Manager and told him about my intent. To our credit, the Blue Jays already had been informed of Vladimir’s award and that helped as I was invited to be one of the many reporters that would have a chance to speak to him after batting practice.
While I waited, I saw Vladimir coming from the locker room and quickly identified myself and told him that I was there to inform him of the award he had won. He too invited me to attend the press event he was having after batting practice. When we finally had the press event, I was able to speak to Vladimir for a few seconds before the other reporters gathered. I asked him what language he preferred, and he did not hesitate to say, “Spanish.” I told him about the history of the award and that his father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. had won the award in 2002. His eyes lit up when he heard that. Unfortunately, the other reporters began to quickly ask a barrage of questions and I decided to wait for them to ask their questions before I could follow up with mine.
I finally asked my two follow up questions. I asked him about his thoughts on winning the prestigious LatinoMVP award for the 2021 season, the same award that his father had also won.?
Vladimir, like his father is a man of few words and stated, “I feel good. I believe that based on the work and the efforts you put out you deserve it. Because it’s obvious that the work that I put out last season I deserved it.” (Here I believe that he was alluding to the fact that he was a top candidate for the American League MVP and came in second place to Shohei Otani).
He continued, “Obviously like you said all the awards that one gets makes one feel good because we work for that.”
My second and last question was, his thoughts on an award specifically for Latino baseball players? He responded, “I believe that open the doors. It opens the doors for us to be considered when we have good and great seasons to be recognized for one’s efforts. I feel really good about that (having an award exclusively for Latino players).
That was it, a long wait for a quick and informal interview. Hopefully, we will be able to get more time with Vladimir during the season and on the day that he is presented with the award.
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