Happy to be here.
When you watch the 10:00 local sportscasts tonight, if the Rangers manage to elbow in for 30 seconds between Cowboys and Mark McGwire, you’ll probably see one of two automatic shots from a day like this: Vladimir Guerrero trying on number 27 in his home whites, or Guerrero shaking the hand of his new manager, or general manager.
Those aren’t the shots I hope you get to see.
Guerrero, conducting himself with what has to be the least swagger of any sports bad-*** you can imagine, was polite, reserved, seemingly almost ashamed of his greatness throughout today’s press conference. His keel was totally even.
Until the presser ended, and he stepped down from the head table, and got bear hugs from three new teammates who’d been standing in the back of the room during the whole presser, along with one old teammate. From the look on Vlad’s face as he hugged it out with Josh Hamilton, then Michael Young, then Ian Kinsler, and then Darren Oliver, you’d think these were his old frat brothers, not longtime rivals. It wasn’t an exchange of respect as much as it was a “welcome aboard / damn glad to be here” thing, with a bigger smile frozen on Guerrero’s face than you’ll probably ever see from him between the lines. It was very cool.
It’s what I choose to imagine we’ll see a year from now when Josh Beckett is introduced to the local press.
The great Brad Newton was there today, and I’m only disappointed that his vantage point during that impromptu moment, as luck would have it, was behind Guerrero rather than in front.
If we’re fortunate, at least one of the many TV cameras on hand had their lenses trained on Guerrero’s face and captured the moment, and their producers will decide tonight to run that footage in place of the clichéd handshake or shirt fitting.
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(c) Jamey Newberg
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