Juan Soto gave us possibly the greatest baseball revenge story ever

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Bijan Todd
·2 min read
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Juan Soto gave us possibly the greatest baseball revenge story ever originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

It turns out Juan Soto has quite the memory—especially regarding those who’ve taunted him.

The Washington Nationals slugger sat down with ESPN’s Jeff Passan for a cover story, and gave us one incredible tale about a pitcher, a strikeout and a great saga of revenge.

Back in 2017, JoJo Romero was an up-and-coming star in Philadelphia’s pitching system. The lefty first faced Soto while they both were in the minors. Soto drew a walk in his first plate appearance, while Romero got the better of Soto the second time with a strikeout looking.

Romero seemed to be ecstatic about besting the hotshot young batter, later posting a video of the strikeout on Instagram. In retrospect, that probably wasn’t a great move. Soto remembered it. He promised himself he would get his revenge.

Fast forward three years to September 2020. Romero and Soto had both risen to the Majors, and now faced each other under the bright lights of Nationals Park. With the Phillies up 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning with two runners on, who does JoJo Romero get sent into the game specifically to face? Juan Soto. “I waited since 2017, all the way to 2020,” Soto would later say.

On the very first pitch of the at-bat, Romero left a fastball hanging over the plate, and per his tendency, Soto crushed it to deep left-center. Soto waited over 1,000 days to obtain vengeance on Romero, and did so in a massive way. Take a look:

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“The first pitch I see, I just hit it as hard as I can,” Soto tells Passan. “I just remember all this stuff he's done. I'm like, now you're going to see this all posted in the media. And it's just great. I mean, things like that, I just wait to happen. I don't mind if you get me, but I'm going to get you one day.” That, he did.

The 22-year-old phenom has already made his mark on the big leagues, winning a World Series, an NL Batting Championship and a Silver Slugger Award well before many baseball prospects even reach the Majors. JoJo Romero acknowledges the impact Soto is having on the game, and he would know better than most.

“You feel that intensity just making eye contact,” Romero tells ESPN. “He's a big eye-contact guy. He looks at his opponent. He does the shuffle. His presence in the box is intense. You know when you're pitching to him you can't make a mistake.”