Padres shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. has been one of the brightest stars in Major League Baseball's truncated 2020 season. The 21-year-old superstar is a frontrunner for the NL MVP and is atop the National League in home runs.
However, Tatis found himself as the subject to criticism for both his manager Jayce Tingler and Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward after the shortstop hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch in the eighth inning on Monday night.
The criticism stemmed from San Diego's big lead late in the evening, with the game almost certainly out of reach for the Rangers. Both managers felt that Tatís disobeyed the "unwritten rules" of baseball by running up the score. Tatís apologized postgame for swinging at the pitch.
Many, including Nationals' infielder Howie Kendrick, feel that Tatís did nothing wrong. Kendrick took to Instagram to share his opinion on the matter, and why Tatís has every right to swing on that pitch and should not have apologized.
"Would never apologize for going deep 3-0 or any other count. We are on the field to play baseball," Kendrick wrote. "If you don’t like him going deep 3-0 then don’t get to 3-0. Not sure why this is a conversation. Is he supposed to go up and try to get out. If he grounds out no one says anything. @fernando_tatis21 keep being great your one of my favorite players."
Kendrick is right in every aspect. This only became a big deal because Tatís hit a home run; few would have complained about him swinging (besides maybe Tingler) if he didn't end up doing any damage at the plate.
Baseball is a sport that needs it's young stars to drive it. The game is desperate for more flash and culture, and Tatís brings that every day. Bat flips, swagger and swinging for the fences on 3-0 pitches in baseball need to be normalized -- not ridiculed -- if baseball wants to grow and attract the younger generation.
Tatís isn't the only young star that was at the forefront of controversy Monday evening. Nationals young phenom Juan Soto was on the receiving end of some inappropriate language from Braves reliever Will Smith after admiring his home run off of him.
Washington manager Davey Martinez -- unlike Tingler -- had his player's back, telling Smith to "make a better pitch" if he didn't want Soto to take him deep, and thus, admire his work.
Sorry, baseball old-timers, but Tatís and Soto are both here to stay. Their fun, outgoing personalities should also be encouraged to stay in the sport, too.