On Monday night Fernando Tatis Jr. sent one to the seats. It had been the second time that game, and his 11th of the season. The most electric and exciting player in baseball had done it again. For years, playing on the West Coast has been used as an excuse to say you can’t market a particular player, but here’s Tatis lighting up everyone’s Twitter feed for the millionth time this season doing it for the San Diego Padres – a team which has perennially lagged behind the Dodgers.
Fernando Tatis Jr. smacked a grand slam on a 3-0 count with a big lead, leading to criticism from both managers.
What do you think about this unwritten rule in baseball?
🎥 @MLB #PadresTwitterpic.twitter.com/55rX1bL4Qm
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) August 18, 2020
The thing is, not everyone was thrilled. Texas manager Chris Woodward wept that Tatis dunked on his Rangers. Tatis’ own manager even joined in on throwing his player right under the bus. This came after the Rangers had their pitchers throw at the Padres. Tatis’ manager – a man who is supposed to lead his team – would rather go after his star than the guys who wanted to hurt his players.
Apparently some unwritten rule that literally does not exist outside of the complaints of the same boomers and dinosaurs who tout batting average to measure success, are attempting to hijack one of the more important rises of a player that we’ve seen in a while. Without the Aaron Judges, Juan Sotos and Tatises of the world being so damn cool, what we have is a sport led by a stale superstar in Mike Trout that is more invested in the weather than helping to grow the game that has given him so much.
If there is anything that we have learned about the NBA it’s that the focus on individuality has made a player like Zion Williamson who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans cool in every time zone in the world. Think about where LeBron started out? He became a household brand in Cleveland because basketball allows players to be themselves. For whatever reason though, the gatekeepers of MLB haven’t seen this. Everybody has to be in line and as lame and gray as the clouds that Trout fawns over.
Maybe one of the worst parts in all this is Eric Hosmer. Hosmer walked over to the Rangers bench and told them that he’d “handle” the situation that really wasn’t a situation at all. Hosmer then slouched over to Tatis and “let him know how it’s done.” Keep in mind that, while Eric Hosmer is a veteran, he’s also one of the worst people to be talking to Tatis about anything.
Love it, Eric Hosmer. Tatis was wrong in pimping the grand slam #RTG pic.twitter.com/o0VCVUqjmd
— 4c (@pete4c) August 18, 2020
Here’s a guy who made his money and quite literally hasn’t done much in his attempts to swing at any pitches – be it 3-0 or any other count. Since becoming a Padre, Hosmer has a -.1 WAR, 95 wRC+, an abominable AVG Exit Velo of 89.7 MPH as well as an even more abominable .317 OBP and .418 SLG. On top of this, his defense has been extremely poor. According to Baseball Savant, he was in the bottom 41% of Outs Above AVG at first in 2018 and an atrocious bottom 8% of OAA in 2019. Hosmer walks to the plate and nothing happens, and he’s telling a kid who is making everything happen to come closer to his washed level. In what way is that good for anybody?
Are we rooting for more Eric Hosmers and less highlights? If that’s the case then baseball really is doomed.
Baseball likes to tout the motto “Let The Kids Play” but the second they decide to play, they go after them. They go after Tatis for being productive. They go after Tim Anderson for making things fun. The gatekeepers even weep over Joe Kelly for making funny faces.
Why even tell the kids to “play” if you want them to be that boring, cloud chasing superstar? If that’s what they want then say it. Baseball can’t complain that the game isn’t growing, though.
If baseball wants to take the next step, then the first thing we need to do is let the asteroid crash down on the dinosaurs who gatekeep it. They need to go. Whatever’s left of them need to become fossilized.