How does a young slugger stay sharp without live pitching this spring? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is getting back to his roots, playing a classic game that has shaped so many Latin stars.
Vitilla, a variation of stickball played primarily in the Dominican Republic, is part of the foundation of the country’s love of baseball. It’s played by everyone from young kids to Dominicans living abroad, and it’s a tradition that many Major League players have shared with teammates or young ballplayers in their own cities.
That’s not a red lightsaber in Guerrero’s hands, either; it’s a broomstick. Without an enlarged barrel like a standard baseball bat would have, it’s the ultimate test of hand-eye coordination, with the bottle cap -- typically taken from large water jugs -- zipping in with unpredictable movement.