Javy Báez wants to share the spotlight with Francisco Lindor
Puerto Rican superstar rapper Bad Bunny isn’t one to mince words.
The outspoken rapper has transcended cultures in his career. Although he raps primarily in Spanish, he has broken through with No. 1 hits on the U.S. Billboard charts, has graced the covers of Rolling Stone and Playboy, and performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in February.
So, when he declared in one of his recent songs in Spanish that, “[Derek] Jeter retired, now the one who kills it is [Francisco] Lindor,” there was no doubt who he thought the best shortstop in baseball was.
Puerto Rican superstar Javy Báez doesn’t disagree.
“I believe he’s the best shortstop in the game right now from our generation,” Báez said.
But Báez, in his usual cool, sly and witty manner, had a simple response.
“He’s the best, but I’m ‘El Mago,’” he said as he pointed toward the camera.
Regardless of who is the better shortstop, the duo, along with Astros’ shortstop Carlos Correa, has brought their little island a great sense of orgullo – pride.
“They compare us a lot in our country with Lindor, Correa and all these great shortstops,” Báez said. “But I think if we talk about the best shortstop in the game, (we’re) up there. But he is a complete player, just like me, [Trevor] Story, you can name it.”
Like Bad Bunny, Lindor and Baez have both transcended cultures and are marketing icons for their respective teams. Báez is the face of the video game MLB The Show 20, and Lindor is the face of New Era caps and New Balance’s baseball line.
Whether you’re a rap megastar like Bad Bunny, fellow Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA or a baseball star like Báez and Lindor, with that acclaim comes tremendous responsibility. That’s something Báez doesn’t take lightly.
“I see it in the same way,” Báez said. “They grew up coming from the hotspot and being famous and having a voice, a lift for us and for our island.
“It’s really big. All the players and the rappers and other big people that got voice over there, they try to stay together so we can be stronger.”
While Báez might not have a line in a Bad Bunny song declaring him the best shortstop, he can take solace in the fact that he appears in a song of his own. Anuel raps in one of his songs, “I run all the bases like Javy Báez,” a line that Báez uses as one of his walk-up songs at Wrigley Field.
Plus, for Báez, it’s not a competition.
At the end of the day, while they may compete with each other when the Cubs play Cleveland, they’re not trying to one up one another. He and Lindor have built a familial bond where they communicate regularly as they bloom into faces of their respective franchises and, arguably, the game as a whole.
It was apparent on Tuesday.
Prior to the first game of the two-game set, Báez met with Lindor at Progressive Field. Lindor congratulated Báez on the recent announcement of his wife’s pregnancy and also gave Báez a signed bat.
“I get it as an example, you know, to make me better and learn from him,” Báez said. “We got a pretty similar life. I make my adjustments in my life. Whatever I can pick from him that helps me, I will pick it up.”