DENVER — Fernando Tatis and Vladimir Guerrero carry the Juniors that follow their names with grace and dignity, knowing their mere bloodlines will reset expectations and perceptions before they can so much as step in a batter’s box.
For a time, as Tatis’ body failed him, and Guerrero’s packed on too many post-pandemic pounds as his stat line generated satisfaction but not superlatives, it was fair to wonder just when and if they’d reach the greatness projected for them.
Oddly enough, this week should be their coronations. As Major League Baseball gathers for its All-Star Game, Guerrero and Tatis arrive with identical distinctions befitting young kings. They received more All-Star fan votes than any player in their respective leagues. They’ve each slugged 28 home runs.
Yet Tatis, the San Diego Padres shortstop and Guerrero, the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman and son of the Hall of Famer, must cede the spotlight. This is Shohei Ohtani’s arrival week, and rightfully so.
That puts them both, at 22, in a unique position of soaking in their first All-Star Games from the perch of experience, their three seasons in the major leagues gradually yielding the expected greatness.
Seizing it was as much about knowing themselves, inside and out, as anything on the field.
It is a lesson Tatis’ mentor in the Padres infield, Manny Machado, has driven home.
“What’s a better version of Tatis,” Machado often asks him, “than being you? Bring it every day. Even at 50%, 70%, you’re…