Fernando Tatis Jr. took the MLB lead with his 11th homer of the season with an eighth-inning grand slam Monday night against the Rangers. If only that was the extent of the story.
By now you probably know that Tatis’ grand slam was somehow controversial because he had the temerity to swing at a 3-0 pitch with his San Diego Padres team up 10-3. Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after the game that his team was unhappy that Tatis chose to swing at the pitch because of the score and Tatis’ own manager Jayce Tingler even agreed with that sentiment.
While Tingler said that Tatis did miss a take sign from the team’s third base coach before hitting the homer, he got the take sign because the Padres were already up seven runs and weren’t trying to run up the score.
Naturally, the defense of Tatis’ violation of baseball’s supposed unwritten code was swift and fierce. Numerous current and former players chimed in on social media to defend the 21-year-old superstar, including Cleveland outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
DeShields, also the son of a former major leaguer, didn’t take offense to what Tatis did and also noted that bunting to break up a perfect game shouldn’t be offensive to the opposing team either.
I remember facing @JustinVerlander on Father’s Day in 2016 and we were getting stomped. JV had like 12 or 13 K’s going into the 7th and I was his last batter of the day. Worked into a 3-2 count and my man diced me up with slider down by 8.— Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) August 18, 2020
Unwritten rule or was JV just playing the game? We actually laughed about it as he walked off the mound because he kicked our ass that day. I grew up around the game and every sport changes that’s the reality. A guy like me might take 3-0 depending on a situation because I don’t— Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) August 18, 2020
Have pop like tatis does but in this game anything can happen. We put up a 10 spot in one inning on the reds this year. No lead is comfortable no at bat is comfortable. If you have opportunities take them. Hit a homer pimp it. Strike a guy out let them you got them. But just know— Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) August 18, 2020
That if I get ya back I’m gonna return the favor. Y’all gonna criticize me if I bunt for a hit when a guy is throwing a perfect game when it’s part of my game? I’m sorry but y’all can kiss my ass. That’s all have a great day peeps.— Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) August 18, 2020
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.
Swinging in a 3-0 count should not be against any rules, no matter the score.— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) August 18, 2020
Before a game I would always look to see what % a guy swings 3-0. If it’s over 20%, it means I can’t just groove one.
The guys who will never “give you a pitch” at the plate are the toughest AB’s.
Former players including Ozzie Guillen and Johnny Bench also had no problem with Tatis did. Isn’t the object of baseball to score?
Baseball now is weard TATIS go for MVP u no want players swing 3- 0 get better pitchers what is going on whit the game? Yes cause Tati was the guy ? Crazy the flip bat they talk trash they do worst stuff than that no one say crap please omg— Ozzie Guillen (@OzzieGuillen) August 18, 2020
As I see all this talk about right and wrong about @tatis_jr swinging 3-0....it makes me upset that I am not playing in today’s game. Only for the reason that maybe I could finally have the coach give me Green Light on 3-0!! Keep being you Fernando, fun to watch! #LetThemPlay— RyanDempster (@Dempster46) August 18, 2020
Well... now @tatis_jr has apologized more than any Astros player has... baseball can be a little ridiculous at times. Keep playing your game big guy... players like you are not only the future, but the now. Love your game.— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) August 18, 2020
So you take a pitch...now you're 3-1. Then the pitcher comes back with a great setup pitch...3-2. Now you're ready to groundout into a double play. Everyone should hit 3-0. Grand Slams are a huge stat. @tatis_jr https://t.co/4D3ilsD9Sh— Johnny Bench (@JohnnyBench_5) August 18, 2020
And current Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Colin Poche had the most succinct and indisputable defense of Tatis.
🗣 if you dont’t like giving up 3-0 grand slams, PITCH BETTER. https://t.co/zQ5sqS34q6— Colin Poche (@colinpoche) August 18, 2020
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
More from Yahoo Sports: