A day after San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatīs Jr. drew criticism for breaking an unwritten rule for his controversial grand slam in a blowout, New York Yankees star Gerrit Cole became the latest MLB player to defend Tatīs Jr.
During Monday’s game against the Texas Rangers, Tatīs Jr. drilled a 3-0 pitch over the seats to give the Padres a 14-3 lead. The Rangers took offense to the 21-year-old breaking one of MLB’s unwritten rules and threw behind Manny Machado in the next at-bat.
MLB players defend Fernando Tatīs Jr. for breaking unwritten rule
Following Monday’s loss, Rangers’ manager Chris Woodward called out Tatīs Jr. for breaking the unwritten rule of swinging at a 3-0 pitch in the blowout. Surprisingly, San Diego’s skipper Jayce Tingler also publicly blasted the team’s star for his actions.
While both managers were upset at Tatīs Jr. for seemingly playing to win, many MLB players came to his defense on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, pitcher Gerrit Cole made it clear he sided with Tatís Jr.
“It’s pretty simple for me. It’s pretty hard to hit a grand slam,” Cole said, via Yankees Videos. “So whatever count you want to try to hit one in, go for it.”
The sentiment is shared by many fans and players across the league. While MLB’s unwritten rules have come under increased criticism in recent years, with many suggesting they should be forgotten, the outrage over Tatís’ home run is particularly absurd.
We’ve seen plenty of teams blow seven-run leads in a single inning, let alone with two innings left in the game. San Diego’s bullpen has also been prone to disasters this season, which is evident in their 6.19 ERA.
If the Rangers don’t want to see Tatīs Jr. hit a grand slam, their pitchers need to make better pitches. Fortunately, MLB got it right on Tuesday by suspending Woodward and pitcher Ian Gibaut for throwing at Machado.
The drama surrounding the grand slam is certainly something commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t want this season. Instead, the focus should be on Tatís Jr. emerging as the new face of MLB with a league-leading 11 home runs and 28 RBIs.