Soto grew up watching his dad play catcher in a local men’s league in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As detailed in this Washington Post profile from last year, Soto’s father would pitch to him after his games ended until his arm tired and lob glass soda bottle caps for his son to ping off the walls of the family living room.
Soto’s dad was in attendance when he made his major league debut in May 2018, booking a flight from the Dominican Republic only after Soto convinced him that he shouldn’t worry about the cost.
“It was really special having my family out there,” Soto told MLB.com in June. “For me, every time I go to the plate or go to the field, and you know family is out there, I want to give him my 100 percent every time I go out there and try to make it fun.”
Soto’s dad, mom, and younger brother were at Tuesday’s game, and his mom prepared him a homemade meal of ribs and sweet plantain lasagna for lunch before his playoff debut. With his arm draped around his father, and his brother close by, Soto told TBS on-field reporter Lauren Shehadi in a postgame interview that he prayed with his family before the game.
“They give me the love I need,” Soto said later, via NBC Sports Washington. “If I’m good, if I’m bad, they always been right there for me. They are everything.”
Soto was better than good on Tuesday, as were the images of his father embracing him and planting a huge kiss on his cheek shortly after the tackle that had them both rolling around on the infield grass. What a moment.
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