San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatís Jr. sparked criticism from baseball "purists" on Monday night when he swung at a 3-0 pitch with the game out of reach, hitting a grand slam home run — but breaking an unwritten rule in the process. One day later, he drew attention for a similar reason. Tatís stole third base with the Padres up 6-0 against the Texas Rangers, breaking yet another unwritten rule.
The play occurred late in the fourth inning. The Padres were en route to another victory over the Rangers. Tatís stole third base, his sixth of the season, increasing his lead over everyone else in MLB. Stealing a base when your team has a sizable lead creates irritation among purists — although it's less of an issue earlier in games.
Fernando Tatis steals 3rd up 6 runs and laughs at your unwritten rules pic.twitter.com/YKjWXg80Ws— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) August 18, 2020
Interestingly enough, Tatís stole third while pitcher Ian Gibaut still had the ball in his hand. Stealing third base prior to the pitch is very rare, but the Padres' star managed to do so. The third-base umpire initially called him out, but a review showed that he was actually safe. Gibaut is also the pitcher that threw behind Manny Machado's back on Monday in retaliation for Tatís' grand slam home run that night. He is currently facing a three-game suspension for his actions but is appealing.
There are several unwritten rules in baseball that revolve around certain actions. Trying to hit a home run when the game is out of reach is one example, as is flipping your bat in celebration after achieving the goal. Tatís spoke about the list of unwritten rules on Tuesday, and he explained that the game is very hard and that players should have fun.
"I think a bat flip is not that big of a deal," Tatís said to reporters. "Or, whatever people see it. I just see something [as] a celebration. You know, hitting a home run is really hard, so why not enjoy it when we do it? A pitcher will strike me out, they scream, 'Out!' I'm like, 'Yeah, celebrate, man. Celebrate it. You deserve it.' This game is hard for everyone so why not celebrate and have fun the way you want to have fun?"
With the home run on Monday and the stolen base on Tuesday, Tatís is drawing more attention to the Padres. The San Diego-based franchise finishes off the series with two more games against the Rangers. The fans and players alike will wait and see if Tatís breaks any more unwritten rules.