The Padres are America’s Team, and Fernando Tatis, Jr. is our shining star
Tatis, Jr. was the subject of much debate this past week, with baseball’s old heads going squarely against the new-age “let the kids play” format. With a seemingly insurmountable advantage in their early-week matchup with the Texas Rangers, Tatis, Jr. swung on a 3-0 count and ducks on the pond, hitting what would become the first of many Padres grand slams over a five-day period.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward took issue, and even drilled Manny Machado, who was next in line for San Diego. Such retribution is unfair for anyone involved, thus sparking a nationwide baseball debate around the “unwritten rules” of the sport.
Tatis, Jr. won that debate, but he’s still paying the price
The MVP candidate has been forced into a role he’s not accustomed to playing, now the face of a defiant age of MLB stars who refuse to abide by a rulebook they can’t physically see. Unfortunately, this also coincides with baseballs being thrown at his dome.
Very rarely in sports do we get such a clear matchup of good vs evil. The Padres are a fun-loving, adorable loser scratching and clawing for some form of playoff relevance, while the Astros cheated their way to a World Series title. Who should we root for?
For the record, Dusty Baker did go on the record, stating that there was no decision to hit Tatis, Jr. based on his recent actions. It was merely a changeup that got away from Brandon Bielak.
“Anybody who knows baseball, it looked bad, because after the home runs, it looks bad. But you have to look at the pitch. If we’re going to drill someone it’s not going to be with the changeup and it’s certainly not going to be young Bielak. That was the information. I don’t think they would have done it, because it wasn’t intentional. It was a changeup. I guess they were doing their job,” Baker said postgame, per Jeff Sanders of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Given the events of the past week, it’s tough to believe Baker’s statement, as well-intentioned as it might be.