BOSTON — The crack of the bat was so severe that anybody with their nose in a cellphone looked up right away.
After waving wildly at Chris Sale’s slider, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had gotten a hold of one, scorching a liner to center field. Jackie Bradley Jr. didn’t glide back, but sprinted, and hauled the ball in on the warning track.
It went in the book as a loud out, but it’s a sound Red Sox fans should get used to hearing. One of baseball’s brightest young prospects — with a Hall of Fame pedigree — Guerrero is going to have a lot more swings like that at Fenway Park.
As he dug into Boston’s dirt for the first time, the rookie checked off an item that had long been on his bucket list.
“It’s a historic stadium and since I was a young kid, it’s a stadium that you really want to play,” Guerrero said, via translator.
Most want to play at Fenway, but few kids get the behind-the-scenes experience Guerrero did when his father let him tag along to work. Hilariously, some of the renovations are what resonated with him.
“My memory right now is the clubhouse,” Guerrero recalled. “It used to be way smaller than it is right now. It looks better right now.”
Still just 20 years old, Guerrero’s ascent to the majors has been one of baseball’s biggest storylines this season.
At six-foot-two and 250 pounds, he’s already an imposing presence on the diamond, and Guerrero’s career has gotten off to a solid start, young as he may be. The rookie came into last night batting .249 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in his first 45 games.
His father, the original Vladimir Guerrero, had a legendary swing. Voted into the Hall of Fame last year with 92.9 percent of the vote, he was a generational hitter than won an MVP award and eight Silver Sluggers.
The two are close. So close that a postgame phone call is a staple of the rookie’s routine.
“After every game, me and my dad, we talk,” Guerrero said. “See about the game, what I did right, what I did wrong. That’s pretty much what I do with my dad.”
One of his dad’s close friends and countrymen, David Ortiz, is another mentor that Guerrero has always looked up to.
Ortiz is still recovering from a gunshot ambush at Mass General Hospital, but may soon have a big visitor to lift his spirits.
“We have a great relationship,” Guerrero said. “Actually, this morning I spoke with David and there’s a chance that (Saturday) I’ll go to see him... He sounds very good. He feels very well right now.”
Whether it was Ortiz or his own father, the message to a young Guerrero was simple.
“He basically gave me the same advice that my dad always gave me,” Guerrero said. “Keep working very hard every day. It’s not (just) to make it to the big leagues, it’s keep working hard to stay in the big leagues.”
Guerrero’s work may be far from done, but getting to play Fenway Park last night was certainly an early reward.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason