Monday night, the San Diego Padres faced off with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. sparked criticism when he hit an eighth-inning grand slam home run with the bases loaded. The play put the Padres up 14-3 and prompted angry comments from baseball purists.
The moment occurred when Tatis stepped to the plate to face Juan Nicasio. The count was 3-0 when Tatis swung at the pitch and hit a 400-foot homer over the right wall. According to CBS Sports, Padres manager Jayce Tingler said that he gave Tatis the sign to take the pitch and not swing. Rangers manager Chris Woodward also claimed that swinging at the pitch "challenged the unwritten rules in today's game."
Fernando Tatis Jr. smacked a grand slam on a 3-0 count with a big lead, leading to criticism from both managers.
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"I was locked in, man," Tatis told reporters after facing questions about his grand slam. "I was trying to produce for my team. That was one me. [I] didn't look to my third-base coach. That was on me. What can I say?" He also apologized and told reporters that next time he will probably "take the pitch" now that he has "learned from it."
With Tatis apologizing for violating an "unwritten rule" of baseball, fans and players alike have weighed in with their opinions. Some are expressing anger and proclaiming that Tatis should know better. Others, however, feel very differently. A vocal portion of the fanbase took to Twitter after the home run and responded to the "controversy" by saying that the rule is only unwritten due to being "one of the dumbest" and that it only exists to protect pitchers' feelings.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer has since responded to Tatis' apology. He said that the young MLB star should not have apologized. Bauer actually recommended continuing to swing at pitches late in games.
"Hey [Fernandon] listen up," Bauer said. "1) Keep swinging 3-0 if you want to, no matter what the game situation is 2) Keep hitting homers, no matter what the situation is. 3) Keep bringing energy and flash to baseball and making it fun 4) The only thing you did wrong was apologize. Stop that."
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson also responded. He showed support for the young Padres shortstop, as well as swinging when the count is 3-0. Jackson is one of the greatest players in MLB history and understands the difficulty associated with hitting home runs.
"Fernando Tatis keep playing hard and playing great, it's a pleasure to watch you play, love your success and the Padres rise to be a winner. Keep leading the way. It ain't easy to hit Hrs. Keep bringing energy you have to the game, we need players like you. An All Star," Jackson tweeted.