The Atlanta Braves slugger tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend before helping lift his team to a win — and creating an MLB record in the process
Ronald Acuña Jr. had himself a day to remember on Thursday.
The Atlanta Braves star, 25, got married to his longtime girlfriend Maria in the morning and then later that night he cranked a grand slam to help lift his team 8-7 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, creating an MLB record in the process.
“That’s a pretty wild day,” teammate Michael Harris II joked after the game, according to The Associated Press.
The athlete said he’d been planning the private wedding ceremony for weeks now, as his wife Maria, 23, was facing a visa restriction that would’ve sent her home to Venezuela for three months.
The couple met four years ago and got engaged in January, according to ESPN. They share two sons together: Ronald Daniel, 2, and Jamall, 11 months. After the wedding earlier in the day, the family cheered on the star from the stands.
“For the rest of my life, I hope you never forget this incredibly special day for us,” he wrote on the back of a ticket stub he gave to his wife, ESPN reported.
The athlete explained to reporters through a translater after the game that he and Maria planned to get married during the offseason in front of friends and family back in Venezuela.
However, because of her visa rules, she was required to leave the United States at the end of the week without being able to return for three months – a restriction that would’ve kept her away from Acuña and their kids during the Braves’ impending playoff run.
Instead, he asked his business manager Nick Drbal for help. Drbal locked down a venue, found an officiant, and booked tickets for their families to fly out to Los Angeles for the morning ceremony before he had to race over to Dodgers Stadium for the game later that night.
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Maria's visa restriction would’ve meant she missed the end of Acuña's historic season. The Braves outfielder was already having a career year — and on Thursday he made history, becoming the first Major League Baseball player in history to have hit both 30 home runs and stolen 60 bases.
Acuña said he and Maria plan to celebrate their honeymoon soon after the World Series ends in November. And at this pace, the Braves look poised to be in the World Series - much thanks to his record-breaking season.
His 30th home run of the year came during the second inning Thursday night when he launched a no-doubt grand slam to left field. “What a day for No. 13!” Braves broadcaster Brandon Gaudin said after the young star ran the bases.
“I feel very happy, I feel very special,” Acuña told reporters afterwards, according to the AP. “I’m very thankful, I feel very privileged.”
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