Shohei Ohtani was petting a puppy when he found out that he had won the American League MVP award.
Ronald Acuña Jr. celebrated his National League MVP honors in a different way on the field.
The Braves star won his award and then participated in a Venezuelan Winter League game an hour after winning the award, crushing a homer in an 11-4 win with Tiburones de La Guaira.
Acuña was making his season debut for the Tiburones de La Guaira on Thursday night, and the game was pushed back an hour to accommodate the announcement.
“I don’t know what to say — just super excited, happy,” Acuña said in Spanish while appearing on MLB Network after it was announced he won NL MVP. “Hopefully, by the grace of God, I can have an even better year next year than the one I just had.”
Acuña became the first Latin player to participate in winter league baseball in his home country after winning the MVP award since Vladimir Guerrero Sr. played in the Dominican League for the 2004-05 season.
Guerrero had won the AL MVP in ’04 as a member of the Angels.
Acuña had a historic year, hitting 41 home runs and recording an NL-leading 73 stolen bases to become the first member of the 40-70 club.
His on-base percentage (.416), OPS (1.012), hits (217) and runs scored (149) were all NL bests.
Naturally, after Acuña captured the MLB honors he went out and showed why he’s quickly become a star in baseball.
The 25-year-old recorded a pair of hits, including the long ball, in his debut on Thursday.
Acuña is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League for the second consecutive year and is hoping that he can once again use it to propel him to another strong season for the Braves, who made a trade to add a reliever on Thursday night.
“There’s always time to learn, there’s always time to improve, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to improve every day — as a person, as a ballplayer — and have a great year the [upcoming] season, God willing, [just] like this one,” Acuña said in an interview posted to the Tiburones account on X, according to MLB.com.
“Like I’ve said before, with more time on the field, I think a ballplayer can develop his abilities and can get better results, improve his style of game,” Acuña added.
“I think that was the case for me this year.”