Former Angel Vladimir Guerrero adjusting to life as a Hall of Famer
They certainly must understand the magnitude of reaching the Hall of Fame.
It’s just that some of Vladimir Guerrero’s neighbors apparently don’t completely comprehend what the honor brings.
“Many people in the Dominican [Republic] think I just got this big signing bonus,” he said Sunday through a translator. “Many people are knocking on my door at 7 or 8 in the morning and saying, ‘Since you got this big signing bonus, why don’t you share a little more with us.’”
Guerrero, who was elected in his second year of eligibility in January, will be inducted in July. He will become the first player whose plaque shows him wearing an Angels cap.
In camp as a guest instructor, Guerrero addressed the team at the request of manager Mike Scioscia. Though he appeared in the majors as recently as 2011, he laughed while saying there were players in the room unfamiliar with him and his exploits.
“They never saw me play,” said Guerrero, 43. “I wanted to keep the message to them about hard work, about the things that allowed me to be successful in the big leagues and get to the Hall of Fame.”
He said the reality of being deemed an all-time baseball icon has sunk in, Guerrero explaining that the joke back in the Dominican Republic is how he could successfully run for president. He has not, however, thought much about what he’ll say during his induction speech, only the parameters of his comments.
“I want to keep it as simple as possible, just like I am,” Guerrero said. “But I want to speak about the opportunities that I got representing the Dominican, and beyond the Dominican, representing Latin America.”
It is common for a franchise to retire the jersey number of a player who makes the hall of fame. The issue the Angels face is that No. 27 is still being worn, and it’s being worn by Mike Trout, who’s building his own career that appears headed toward baseball’s ultimate museum.
“It’s pretty cool to wear his number,” Trout said, “[knowing] what kind of person he is and what he brought to the game and what he brought to the organization.”
Guerrero indicated he also thinks Trout continuing to represent No. 27 is cool.
“It might be a different story if the person wearing it was not as good as he was,” Guerrero said. “It might be easier for the team [to make the player switch numbers]. I am very proud of what Mike Trout has done wearing No. 27 and, to me, it’s not an issue at all.”
Ohtani already hearing critics
When not only the baseball world but the rest of the world is watching, the expectations are bound to be high and the critiques unforgiving.
Shohei Ohtani’s Cactus League debut Saturday certainly was uneven — four outs recorded, two runs allowed, almost as many balls as strikes — a fact not missed by those who witnessed it and reported the details.
A headline on Newsday’s website called the performance “somewhat underwhelming,” the story below making sure to remind everyone that by choosing the Angels Ohtani was “forgoing a chance to join the Yankees.”
One veteran baseball blogger labeled the effort “decidedly ordinary” and Ohtani’s lack of command “not encouraging.”
In rewriting an Associated Press story, The Japan Times mentioned that Ohtani, who had his pitch count not mounted likely would have gone two innings, “got pulled early.”
Attempting to become the first player to star as a regular hitter and pitcher in the big leagues in nearly a century, Ohtani has been likened to Babe Ruth. Mercifully, no one used his ho-hum debut to pronounce him the “Joe Blanton of Japan.”
New nickname for Ohtani
At least one Angel has settled on a nickname for Ohtani. Catcher Martin Maldonado is calling him “Jorge,” and not just because it rhymes with Shohei.
“That’s his Latin name,” Maldonado explained. “He’s a Latin player now.”
Scioscia still has not made official when Ohtani will debut as a designated hitter, with Monday or Tuesday most likely. … Tyler Skaggs is scheduled to make his first start of the spring Monday against San Diego.
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