Expressing emotion in baseball creates joy, hate, and excitement. No matter if you are on the side of a huge win or a part of a lopsided loss, every baseball player has experienced both emotions. So it is easy to relate even to a MLB superstar. Fernando Tatis Jr stunned the world of Major League Baseball by hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers, but why were some people more angry than happy by this? On August 17th, The San Diego Padres matched up against the Texas Rangers and it was all Padres the whole game. The Padres running away with the game, up 10-3 late in the eighth inning, added to the bleeding. Fernando Tatis Jr, who is an early MVP candidate during this shortened 60 game season, came up to bat with the bases loaded and whacked a grand slam. This upset some of the “older generation” baseball minds in the game, but why? Because the count was 3-0 and the Padres were already up big late in the game. An old baseball head would say this incident are the things wrong with baseball now-a-days. They see it as lack of respect and sportsmanship.
According to CBS Sports, Rangers Manger, Chris Woodward said”I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eight inning: it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis. So just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”
Personally playing this game for 15 years, and all the experiences I have ever had, whether it being losing a game by 20 runs or winning by 20, you always must play the game with full effort. Now does that mean sportsmanship does not matter? Obviously not, sportsmanship in baseball is also about respecting the game, but playing the game half-hearted takes respect away from the game. We are talking about grown men getting paid millions of dollars to produce also, this is not tee-ball. Even in high school baseball there are pre-set mercy rules to show sportsmanship, so if the MLB wants to fix the problem to keep these soft, unwritten rules, then create a mercy rule. Because to ask an electrifying, 21 year old to not play at full speed every pitch should be an unwritten rule.
Tatis unnecessarily apologized , in my opinion, to the media and the Texas Rangers after the game.
“I’ve been in this game since I was a kid, and I know a lot of unwritten rules,” Tatis said after the game. “And this time, I was kind of lost on this one. From those experiences, you have to learn. Probably next time, I’ll take a pitch. I love this game and I respect this game a lot. Every time I go out there, I just want to feel respect for everybody else. This game is hard for everyone, so why not just celebrate and have fun the way you wanna have fun?”
Tatis took the high road and apologized, which from a public perspective was the smartest stance to take. Especially when his own manager did not completely have his back to the media.
“Just so you know, a lot of our guys have green light 3-0,” Tingler, the Rangers third base coach added. “But in this game in particular, we had a little bit of a comfortable lead. We’re not trying to run up the score or anything like that.”
Claiming that Tatis was given the take sign from the third base coach, might be true, but not having his superstars back would not make me want to play for the man if I was Tatis. If Major League Baseball frowns upon this behavior, I believe ratings will go down and it will only support this mouth fed mentality we have in sports culture today. Not everyone gets playing time, not everyone gets to make the team, sports are for teaching life lessons, whether you are 5 years old or 55. All sports find ways to humble everyone, and if we always follow the unwritten rules, it will only be us who will suffer.