"I want to smack him right in the face," he said.
Back at home we gathered around the computer to watch the Tomasulo video again. As the Ortiz clip played, Ariel's lips moved silently. He had memorized every word.
I asked Luis Sr. and Jessica if they ever expected the video to take off like this. "No," Luis said, "but she was about to throw the computer away, the first time she saw that blog."
"I wanna show you," Jessica said. She pulled up Barstool Sports New York. "Read all the comments," she said. Amid the obscene invective and half-dressed women, there it was:
yeah but why is he so UGLY??
The last comment came from a user known as Mommy201:
this boy is so cute is amaizing [sic]!!
Jessica was just sticking up for her son. "He's only five years old," she said. "He can't write back to the people and say, 'No, I'm not like that.' I get so mad when I see all that comment. And I told Luis, 'I wanna take the video off.' But he say no.
"In that comment, they say it's child abuse. It's not! We made a mistake, that we don't put the helmet on him. But it's not that big deal—but I get so mad, let me tell you. I get so mad."
Then she told a story that led me to this conclusion: Despite the searing heat of the spotlight, she had no intention of pulling her son away. On YouTube, one skeptical viewer said the loud music on the video made it impossible to hear the crack of the bat. "And I said, O.K., that's coming soon," Jessica said. "We're gonna make another video." (The family posted it the day after I left, showing Ariel's development as a hitter since he was six months old.)