“The Heart of Sports” is a weekly column that curates the stories, pictures, and moments that provide a window into the beating heart of sports:
- The father-son bonds forged in sport
- The on-field displays of simple kindness and friendship
- The heart-stopping speeches from coaches
- The thrilling moments from your childhood that you never forget
It’s why we watch. It’s why we play. It’s the stuff that rises up out of sports and settles down into us.
This past week in baseball featured one of the most long-awaited rookie debuts in some time. That of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
Guerrero, Jr. arguably is the most exciting young offensive player in baseball. He hit .380 in the minors last year with prodigious power, and sports a violent swing that reminds many of a combination of Gary Sheffield and—well, his dad—Vladimir Guerrero. Senior, that is.
“Vladdy Daddy” was one of the most gifted players of the 1990s and early 2000, with a swing that could reach literally anything, a canon for an arm, and the kind of gracefulness found in the all-time greats.
The father-son pairing, like the Griffeys and the Bonds before them, touches a nerve and captures the emotion and imagination of fathers everywhere:
But the beauty of baseball is that you don’t have to be in the rarefied air of the Guerreros to ride the unique father-son joy of this game.
There are also the dads who are the little league baseball coaches and their sons. The dads trying to teach and keep their emotions in check. The sons trying to do their best, deal with pressure, and be cool around their friends, even though their dad is always around.
Matt Herman is living that every weekend for his sons, Cody and Joshua. The below shot was taken after Joshua was drilled with a pitch. Matt was coaching, helping him get his composure back and run to first. It’s baseball, but its also life. They are one and the same.
It’s not just the pros. It’s all of us. It was me one day when I coached my son, Jacob.
It’s Matt now, and thousands like him, every weekend during baseball season and then some.
It’s all of us.
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Photo Credit: @MLB YouTube (Screen Cap), Matt Herman, Author
If you have a moment that you think should be featured in the Heart of Sports, please contact me at [email protected] or @michaelkasdan.