August 18, 2020

Fernando Tatis Jr.'s grand slam draws ire of manager Jayce Tingler, Texas Rangers: The San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the most exciting young players to arrive in Major League Baseball in quite some time, and is off to an amazing start to the truncated 2020 season.

However, the "unwritten rules" of the game caught up to the 21-year-old phenom when he apparently missed a take sign on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded and blasted his first career grand slam. That drew the ire of his own manager.

posted by BornIcon to baseball at 10:10 AM - 23 comments

I think most of MLB's unwritten rules are dumb, but this one is the dumbest. Unlike most other sports, in baseball with no time limit, the losing team always has a chance to come back. Had the Rangers accepted defeat, no longer trying to win? This isn't little league. Everyone out there makes a living trying to win baseball games. It is not the winning team's responsibility to stop trying just because they are comfortably ahead.

It is an unusual--and even disconcerting--wrinkle that Tatis got some shade from his own manager.

posted by bender at 10:18 AM on August 18

Tatis gets paid to produce offense. At the end of the season the team isn't going to add HRs for every 'take on 3-0' at bat, so I see no reason not to swing.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 AM on August 18

Who the fuck is Jayce Tingler?

posted by beaverboard at 01:05 PM on August 18

Jim Rome, surprisingly, had a good take on this: if this is an unwritten rule then that means the other team has given up. If the other team has essentially given up, then just institute a mercy rule and end the game early.

posted by NoMich at 02:29 PM on August 18

Who the fuck is Jayce Tingler?

The answer should be "former Padres Manager, now bagging groceries at the local Piggly Wiggly".

posted by grum@work at 04:44 PM on August 18

Tatis better keep his head up in about 7 months.

I'm guessing that's when Odor will settle the score.

posted by tommytrump at 05:37 PM on August 18

The so-called unwritten rules seem to have developed as a sort of "professional courtesy" over the years. It's the same idea of not taking the easy layup when your basketball team is up 9 with 4 seconds left in the game and you are all alone with the ball under the hoop. You just dribble out the game. The idea is not to pile on a beaten opponent. If individual players have some statistic milestones or records they want to reach, breaking the 'rules' can be understood. Otherwise it is just discourteous to steal a base with a 7 run lead in the 8th inning, to swing at a 3-0 get-me-over pitch when you are well ahead in a game, or to take extra bases unnecessarily. It's courtesy, the rudeness of doing these things used to be recognized as such, and professional baseball players would refrain from doing them. Breaking the rules is still discourteous, but in today's game with the generation of players in the game today, it doesn't seem to be recognized as such. When I am umpiring, I often hear a coach whose team is well ahead tell his players to swing at anything close, and not to try to get the base on balls. It's one way of teaching the game the right way, but I think that those who break the unwritten rules just were not taught the right way.

posted by Howard_T at 07:06 PM on August 18

Otherwise it is just discourteous to steal a base with a 7 run lead in the 8th inning

What if your club is up 6-0 in the 4th inning, okay to steal 3rd?

posted by tommytrump at 07:46 PM on August 18

Every manager in the game is going to take issue with a young player ignoring a sign to take a pitch.

Perhaps it's the influence of Jomboy, but I'm enjoying the unwritten rules of baseball more than I did. Anything that gets these players beefing with each other is entertaining. I am even starting to see the rationale for enforced standards of etiquette in a sport where participants throw dangerous projectiles at each other.

posted by rcade at 08:16 PM on August 18

Jomboy puts some specificity in this unwritten rule: You shouldn't swing on 3-0 when you're up by 6 runs or more after the 6th inning.

posted by rcade at 08:24 PM on August 18

I am even starting to see the rationale for enforced standards of etiquette in a sport where participants throw dangerous projectiles at each other.

Repeatedly

posted by tommytrump at 08:27 PM on August 18

That Jomboy video is great. Thanks for sharing that, rcade.

Johnny Bench, that guy knew how to play the game right. He chimes in with his opinion and...OK...I was not expecting that response from him. I don't know why, but I was surprised.

posted by NoMich at 09:35 PM on August 18

Every manager in the game is going to take issue with a young player ignoring a sign to take a pitch.

Fine, but you don't publicly air that issue to the media when he hits a grand slam and your team has won.

You go to him in private and say something and that's it.

posted by grum@work at 10:31 PM on August 18

What if your club is up 6-0 in the 4th inning, okay to steal 3rd?

What is the situation. Outs? Count? If you are playing in Fenway, a base hit to left might not score a runner from 2nd. How about your pitching? Is your starter going well? Does your bullpen suck? All of these things must be considered. Up 6-0 in the 4th is a lot less comfortable than being up 6-0 in the 7th.

posted by Howard_T at 01:35 AM on August 19

That way that sorry ass Rangers pitcher was throwing, with a 3-0 count and the bases loaded, they were on the verge on walking in a run anyway. That guy had no more chance of throwing three straight strikes than Dr. Fauci or Miss Texas.

posted by beaverboard at 01:45 AM on August 19

What is the situation. Outs? Count? If you are playing in Fenway, a base hit to left might not score a runner from 2nd. How about your pitching? Is your starter going well? Does your bullpen suck? All of these things must be considered. Up 6-0 in the 4th is a lot less comfortable than being up 6-0 in the 7th.

Globe Life Field

2 out

!-1

Fernando Tatis Jr. (6th)

Starter out of game

Used 7 pitchers

Final 6-4

posted by tommytrump at 09:16 AM on August 19

It's the same idea of not taking the easy layup when your basketball team is up 9 with 4 seconds left in the game and you are all alone with the ball under the hoop. You just dribble out the game.

But it's not the same idea. You pass on that layup, and the game ends--perfectly reasonable and sportsmanlike. But in baseball, you still have to get the other team out 27 times to defeat them, and there is no time limit on how long any of those 27 outs might take. Tatis taking a walk does not move the Padres any closer to ending the game than his grand slam does--or even getting out. The Rangers still get to--have to--bat again, and since they can't simply concede the game, you have to assume they are trying to score runs. The calculus may be different in lower levels of baseball, but in an MLB game played by professional baseball players, there is no such thing as running up the score.

posted by bender at 09:40 AM on August 19

If the Rangers had to play ~10 times a year at Coors Field, they might not assume 7 runs is an insurmountable deficit either.

posted by LionIndex at 09:58 AM on August 19

Fine, but you don't publicly air that issue to the media when he hits a grand slam and your team has won.

I can see the logic in that, but managers do speak through the media sometimes, in particular when they don't regard the issue as particularly important.

Baseball's unwritten rules require a performance of contrition, which the manager and Tatis have both done. Perhaps there's also an unspoken rule in which they privately agree to each other that this is BS but we have to act like we agree with it.

posted by rcade at 12:13 PM on August 19

Anything that gets these players beefing with each other is entertaining

I kinda hate the "unwritten rules"--but I can get behind this take.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:18 PM on August 19

MLB is pushing the hell out of Tatis now. The MLB app is notifying me when he's up to bat

posted by NoMich at 10:13 PM on August 19

What unwritten rule will he break today?? Tune in to find out!

posted by bender at 10:40 PM on August 19

I wish there had been a Bat Flipper / Odor app. Sponsored by Don King.

I remember when Fernando Valenzuela first came up. If there had been apps back then, your device would have melted due to the frenzy of adoration.

Before him there was Vida Blue and it always bothered me that Vida didn't get near the attention that Fernando did. I would stare at those late night Oakland box scores in disbelief two days after the fact (we had to wait an extra day for them to get included in the sports sections of east coast newspapers).

Oh and hey, the Padres look pretty sharp in those updated versions of the vintage Kroc era "let's defy the odds and God's will and break the hearts of Cubs fans" uniforms.

posted by beaverboard at 01:30 AM on August 20

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