Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. is one of the most exciting players in all of Major League Baseball.
But 2022 wasn’t exactly a standout year for the young Dominican star.
The 25-year-old played in just 119 games due to injuries. He hit a respectable .266, but with just 15 home runs, 50 RBIs and 71 runs scored. He also had the worst fielding percentage of his career at .975.
Beyond that, Acuña and the Braves were bounced from the playoffs by NL East rivals Philadelphia in the Division Series.
Thankfully for Acuña, things are already looking up in 2023.
The year began with the Braves star getting engaged to longtime girlfriend Maria Laborde.
Acuña got engaged pic.twitter.com/J00Jxm9xaZ
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) January 14, 2023
Laborde, who was crowned Miss Teen Carabobo in 2015, is also relatively active on TikTok and Instagram.
But Acuña’s fantastic 2023 didn’t end there. He and Laborde are spending the MLB offseason in her native Venezuela. While there, he’s playing for the Tiburones de La Guaira (La Guaira Sharks) of the Venezuelen Professional Baseball League.
And it appears his swing looks juuuuusttt fine.
Fans Love Ronald Acuña Jr.’s Magnificent Home Run Trot
Acuña absolutely mashed a home run to right-center field on Wednesday night to give his team a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning. But that wasn’t the notable part. What was notable, as Acuña prepares to return to the Braves for spring training, was his incredible home run trot.
Baseball Twitter will have a field day with this one from @ronaldacunajr24 pic.twitter.com/YdCpiVkBEg
— Michael Schlact (@michael_schlact) January 25, 2023
His magical trek around the bases took 37 seconds all told from start to finish. He acknowledged the fans. He acknowledged his teammates, and he started down the opposing catcher before ever getting to first base.
And fans lapped up every single second of it. Not just those in attendance, either.
An electric factory, bring it to the states. https://t.co/BDvVzAUDOS
— 🧢 (@victimvincenzo) January 26, 2023
Love this! Give more more! https://t.co/w3Jcd46GBP
— Nick Cicirello (@NickCicirello) January 26, 2023
the dinosaurs would have a stroke if this was a MLB game https://t.co/hrPycVmMUG
— Sam (@SamDikanovic) January 26, 2023
It was an absolutely miraculous trot. But someone probably throws at Acuña the next at-bat if he tries that in the MLB. In fact, he may not even make it around the bases before the benches clear.
But that’s what makes South and Central American baseball so fantastic. They love to play the game. They enjoy playing the game, and the fans enjoy watching.
We could use a little bit of that fun and flair here in the US. But the odds are it likely never happens. And that’s a tragedy.