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If You Don’t Want a Batter to Swing 3-0, Don’t Throw 3 Bad Pitches

Rangers pitcher Juan Nicasio was having a bad inning. Fernando Tatis, Jr., decided to take him yard. Controversy ensues.

Fernando Tatis, Jr. by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

If You Don’t Want a Batter to Swing 3-0, Don’t Throw 3 Bad Pitches


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Lots of chatter about the latest Fernando Tatis, Jr. home run and it’s not about how glorious it was.

Tatis Jr., the hottest player on the planet right now, is leading the league in home runs, swag, and general amazingness. Seriously. Watch a Padres game. The man is ELECTRIC.

However, in the first game of their series with the Rangers, Tatis Jr. did something that really chapped the asses of baseball elitists.

Rangers pitcher Juan Nicasio was having a bad inning. Prior to facing Tatis Jr., Nicasio walked the previous two batters, going 3-0 to start on both of them. For the third straight at-bat, Nicasio was behind 3-0.

Here’s where the problem begins.

It’s 10-3 Padres in the top of the 8th inning, with only one out when Tatis steps into the box. Regardless of the score, given the runners on and the poor pitching of Nicasio, everyone on the planet knows that he has to groove one in there. I know it, you know it, Nicasio knows it, Tatis, Jr. knows it, Tatis Sr. knows it. Nicasio has to come over the plate with this pitch.

That’s on Nicasio for getting himself into that situation. That’s his fault.

So, of course, being the fun phenom he is, Tatis Jr., parks it. And ya know what? I LOVE IT. Did he break an unwritten rule? Sure did, and did it in a grand fashion.

If Tatis didn’t take him yard, do you think Machado would have been nicer? should Hosmer have bunted after that?

Also, why are we not talking about Ian Gibaut throwing at Machado in the very next at-bat? Isn’t that an 8-game suspension? Isn’t that how that works in 2020?

Do you know who didn’t like that swing from Tatis, Jr.? Chris Woodward, the Rangers manager, didn’t like that swing from Tatis, Jr., and he made it clear after the game.

To be fair to him, here’s the full quote.

“I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning; it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis. So just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”

Hey, Chris Woodward… Sit down. You seem winded and upset. “The norms are being challenged?” You play a sport where they didn’t let anyone who wasn’t white play in the league for like… 50 years. You wanna talk about norms? We’re holding guys back for service time, and trading generational talents because teams don’t want to pay them, when it used to just be “one team owns you until you die pretty much.” Get out of here with your “good ol’ days of baseball are gone” nonsense.

What is Tatis supposed to do? Sit there and wait for a more equitable count from Nicasio? Is he supposed to just sit there and wait for a professional baseball player to do his job correctly? What are we doing here?

Many fellow ballplayers have come to Tatis Jr.’s defense since he embarrassed a grown man in front of the world. Here’s a smattering:

Real talk. This is the dumbest thing any of us have ever encountered. And if you needed any more evidence that baseball has an image problem and a superstar problem, this just adds gasoline to that fire. Fernando Tatis, Jr. is the best thing that’s happened to baseball since Mike Trout and Aaron Judge, but MLB can’t help but keep ruining things that cool.

Let the kids rake, MLB. It’d be a lot cooler if you did.

But on a more historical level, what about the idea that baseball is a game of constant battles in the name of winning a greater war. Earl Weaver, the Hall of Fame manager of the legendary Orioles of the 60s and 70s, once mused about why baseball is the greatest game.

“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.”

You’ve got to give the other man a chance, MLB. And that goes both ways.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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