Manuel Guzman had never seen his son Ronald play a professional baseball game, let alone a major league game.
He’s not thrilled about flying so traveling from the Dominican Republic was an issue.
But dad made it to New York City this weekend and witnessed his son make history.
Rangers’ rookie first baseman Ronald Guzman hit three home runs in a 12-5 win at Yankee Stadium on Friday night sparking a deeply emotional moment for him and his family.
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“I don’t know how to put the words together,” said Ronald Guzman, who could barely contain his smile. “I wanted to hit at least one for them. I was more nervous than my first day in the big leagues. I got the first one out of the way, it was an amazing feeling.”
Each time Guzman homered, including solo shots in the fourth, sixth and seventh, he pointed towards his family in the stands, which included his youth coach in the Dominican. “Seeing them so happy and jumping around. There is no better feeling than that,” he said.
Guzman is the first player, according to Elias Sports Bureau, to hit home runs in his first four games against the Yankees. He has six homers against the Yankees and six against the rest of the league. He’s the first Rangers’ rookie to hit three home runs and is the second-youngest Rangers’ player to do it behind Juan Gonzalez, who was 22 in 1992.
Dad, who was joined by mom, an aunt and uncle and brothers and sisters, wasn’t part of a group that traveled to see Guzman make his major league debut in Houston in April.
“For a father, for the first time to visit it’s very emotional for him to hit three home runs,” Manuel Guzman said through a translator. “It’s a great gift seeing my son play coming straight from the Dominican Republic.”
It was extra special because Ronald, his dad and much of the family grew up huge Red Sox fans. That means the Yankees were always the bad guys.
“I want to kill them every time I play them to be honest,” Guzman said with a chuckle. “I never liked the Yankees growing up, just the fact that every Dominican who is a Yankee fan, they are so loud and they talk so much. Now I know they hate me but I’m happy about it.”
Manuel Guzman said that his son’s record-setting day came against the Yankees was just an added bonus to the evening.
“There’s definitely a little extra incentive when it comes to playing against the Yankees,” Manuel Guzman said. “When he hit the second home run I turned around to my wife and asked what happens if he hits the third one?”
Margarita Guzman said “With God in the picture, anything is possible.”
“And then he hit the third one,” Manuel Guzman said.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister was moved by his first baseman’s special moment.
“That might be one of the coolest things ever,” he said. “A number of people who had an opportunity to impact his life and it’s a night he was able to give back to them and something they’ll all share from now on. They’ll never forget.To do it in front of all those people is about as cool as it gets. Those are the ones you burn in your memory bank and you recall when times are challenging. One of those fun ones you never forget.”