And that’s exactly what Mercedes did after personally reintroducing himself to White Sox fans with a 485-foot home run against Royals starter Brad Keller in the rain-soaked home-opener victory at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mercedes delivered a pronounced bat flip after connecting, raised his hands as he moved around the bases and pointed to the crowd as he crossed home plate.
Mercedes even took photos with fans after the victory.
“They love me right now because of the things I’m doing,” Mercedes said. “That’s what I want after the game. Before, a couple people asked me about my fans. I just want to know my fans, just to give love.
“They know I’m in love with them. They’re feeling that. They’re crazy with me when I’m close to them. They take a photo. They take a video. I feel great with that because I know I have big fans here in Chicago. I just want to give the love too. That’s what I want to do.”
Mercedes’ homer is the third longest hit by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history, trailing only Joe Borchard (504 feet vs. the Phillies on Aug. 30, 2004) and Frank Thomas (495 feet vs. the Twins on July 23, 2002). It also represented Chicago’s second-longest homer tracked by Statcast (postseason included) behind Luis Robert’s 487-foot drive in Oakland during Game 3 of last season’s American League Wild Card Series.
Thursday’s homer, which was the longest of the year in MLB to date, was also the longest regular-season shot for the White Sox in the Statcast era (since 2015), surpassing Avisaíl García’s 481-foot long ball in 2018. Mercedes finished 2-for-4 and has started the season on a 15-for-27 hot streak.
“You just have to watch his at-bats. I mean, he doesn’t throw at-bats away, and he’s so ready to hit,” said White Sox manager Tony La Russa. “He’s showing he’s a good breaking-ball hitter, good fastball hitter, he makes adjustments.
“He rises to the occasion. When you play winter ball, you have to hit offspeed pitches and fastballs in and out and up and down. He’s a seasoned rookie. He enjoys it, the fans enjoy him. He’s for real.”
Following his postgame moment with the fans, Mercedes was able to take pictures with his family on the field to remember his first ever start in Chicago. With the way he’s crushing the baseball, there should be many more starts to come.
“I’m feeling comfortable. I’m feeling great because I know I have people behind me, who want to support me playing,” Mercedes said. “That’s the reason I’m feeling great right now, because every time I’m at home plate, every time I was playing, I’m just trying to be Yermín.
“That’s me, having fun. If you’re having fun, everything is going to be alright. Just having fun when you’re playing, that’s the thing I have. That’s Yermín for you.”