Last time I checked, the goal of baseball was to win games.
There are, of course, those who cling to the concept of baseball’s unwritten rules, who believe that these old, staid traditions are as much a part of the game as peanuts and Cracker Jacks. And certainly, I cringe when a bunt breaks up a no-hitter, who doesn’t? But on Monday evening, Padres phenom Fernando Tatís Jr. did the unthinkable: he swung away on a 3-0 count when his team had a substantial lead, and he hit a grand slam.
Yes, you read that right. Tatís was taken to task, thrown under the bus by his managers, and made to apologize, because he helped his team win. How very dare he?
Some of the old-school mentality said it was disrespectful. Others, you know, the kind of people who want to see exciting players hit grand slams, suggested that if the pitcher didn’t want Tatís to hit a grand slam, perhaps he should have thrown a better pitch.
Regardless of which stance you take, the internet and the baseball writers who live there, were fully up in arms about it, and the think pieces are plentiful, so let’s jump into it.
- Patrick Dubuque would love to know who was actively hurt by the grand slam. (Baseball Prospectus subscription required.)
- Marc Carig gets right to the point, in establishing that Tatís has nothing to apologize for. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- In not defending him, Tatís’s managers were the real ones at fault, and Dennis Lin looks at what happened when they failed to stand up for their young star. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- A timely cover story from Jeff Passan lauds Tatís as one of baseball’s future stars, rightly so.
- David Shoenfeld applauds Tatís and similarly jubilant young star Juan Soto for their enthusiastic rebuke of the unwritten rules.
- Tom Verducci says Tatís did nothing wrong, but also defends Rangers manager Chris Woodward.
- Some input from Trevor Bauer.
Hey @tatis_jr listen up:— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) August 18, 2020
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.
- Sport Illustrated takes a deep look at what the MLB bubble might look like.
- Emily Kaplan and Jeff Passan wonder what MLB can learn from the NHL when it comes to a postseason bubble.
- In an effort to appreciate the weirdness of pandemic baseball, Marc Carig breaks MLB into 3 regional leagues and builds their All-Star teams. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Tony Wolfe is just as surprised by how well the Orioles are doing as you are.
- In a season that’s 100 games shorter than usual, Jonathan Judge wants to know what stats can fairly matter.
- Jay Jaffe, who literally wrote the book on Cooperstown worthiness, takes a look at the case Mookie Betts is making for his future as a Hall of Famer.
- Eno Sarris would like to take a moment to explain spin efficiency and how the Rays are doing it right. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Cody Bellinger is struggling and Dan Szymborski doesn’t think it’s an early season fluke.
- Kenta Maeda had a no-no through eight, until Eric Sogard came to the plate. Wonder if Sogard will have to apologize later.
KING. KENTA.— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 19, 2020
Loses the no-no in the 9th but…
- Broke the Twins record for most consecutive K’s with 8
- 1 ball left the infield thru 8 IP
- Leadoff walk to Yelich than 0 base runners until the 8th
- 14 whiffs on CH is career high
- 12 K’s for 3rd time in career pic.twitter.com/GOi7LOxIwi
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.