Ahhhh, baseball. If there are any guarantees in life, baseball shooting itself in the foot is certainly one of them.
Last night, in a game against the Rangers, Fernando Tatis, Jr. hit a grand slam while his Padres were up 10-3 in the eighth inning.
On the surface, nothing controversial should come out of that scenario, but it just wouldn’t be baseball unless the “old-timers club” tried to accuse an exciting young player of disrespecting the “unwritten rules” of the game.
If you have played baseball at any level, your coaches have definitely advised you not to swing at a 3-0 pitch, no matter how appealing it may look as it heads towards home.
Tatis decided that he was going to disregard that philosophy, as his shot into right-center field came on a 3-0 count.
While I admit that he should have been scrutinized if he had grounded into a double play, I disagree with the criticism he has received not only from “fans” of the game but from both managers, specifically, his own.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler voiced his displeasure about the young star’s homer by stating that he had missed a sign to take the 3-0 pitch. I understand that since he had spent time in the Rangers organization, Tingler didn’t want to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.
Despite that, how can you be discouraged that your player noticed an opportunity and went for it? They were up by seven runs at this point. They weren’t tied, they weren’t trailing, and they weren’t up by a small amount. The Padres were comfortably in front and were just six outs away from winning the game. If there was any time for a player to disregard a sign, it was right then and there.
Tingler went on to state, “It’s a learning opportunity and that’s it. He’ll grow from it”
I’m sorry, he’ll grow from it?
To me, this comment is just outrageous. Yes, it is important for a young star to pay attention to signs and listen to coaches, I won’t argue with that. My main concern is that ever since that homer found the bleachers, Tatis has been scrutinized more than he has been praised. He needs to grow from capitalizing on an opportunity? What?
Was the grand slam insult to injury in what was already a bad night for the Rangers? Yes. But the point of professional sports is to win, not to stop trying when you go up big. Did he make a mistake by swinging at a 3-0 pitch, in this case, no. Could it be a problem in the future that he is disregarding signs and swinging on 3-0 counts? Absolutely.
But baseball is a difficult sport, and you may see only one good pitch to hit during an at-bat. So why does it matter that Tatis liked what he saw and took a hack? It is just confusing to me.
Instead of tearing a young superstar apart for breaking the “unwritten rules” of not swinging in a 3-0 count and not piling up runs when you are already up big (Without a doubt the dumbest of these “unwritten rules”, and I was genuinely shocked to see that people were making this argument), maybe we could just enjoy the damn game and the energy young players like Tatis bring.
Do you want to see baseball thrive and prosper? Well then don’t take the fun out of the game. Games are supposed to be fun to the players and the viewers at home. So instead of preaching old ideologies, maybe we could let the players be themselves and just have some fun.
As a viewer at home, I want to see players showing emotion. Inject bat flips, trash-talking, fist-pumping, and disregarding unwritten rules into my veins. That is the sort of thing that I want to see as a consumer.
Good on you, Fernando Tatis, Jr., you’ve got a fan in me.