Fernando Tatis was given a monster contract, the cover of MLB The Show, and was anointed the face of the youth movement in baseball by many. Now, a series of reckless and selfish decisions have flipped the script, and Tatis is the subject of scrutiny by his team, teammates, and baseball alike. The young star knows that he screwed up and knows his path to forgiveness will be long.
Tatis Owns Mistakes, Knows that Forgiveness Isn’t Guaranteed
“I have seen how my dreams have turned into my worst nightmares. But there’s no other one to blame than myself.”
Those words from the mouth of 23-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. hit me differently last night. It’s easy to dunk on Tatis these days, and as he’ll tell you, he deserves every critique. From reporting to Spring Training with a broken wrist suffered in a motorcycle accident that he failed to alert his team to his recent failed drug test that resulted in an 80-game PED suspension just days from his return from that broken wrist; it’s been a year to forget for the young superstar recently anointed by many the face of the youth movement in baseball.
“I would like to start this day by saying I’m truly sorry,” Tatis said in his opening remarks. “I’m really sorry. I have let so many people down. I have lost so much love from people I have failed. And I have failed all of them. I have failed the front office of the San Diego Padres, Peter Seidler, A.J. Preller. I have failed every fan of this city. I have failed my country. I have failed my family, [and] parents. I’m really sorry for my mistakes.”
Tatis’ vulnerability in his 23-minute media scrum in the Padres dugout at Petco Park reminded me that Tatis is a 23-year-old kid. Yeah, he’s an adult by the numbers, but we all know those numbers don’t dictate maturity. Despite being a father, myself, and having a nice career, thinking I had it all figured out, I was still making childish mistakes at 23. I bet you were too. Sometimes we forget about the human element when it comes to star athletes. But, the truth is, Tatis is no older than my younger brother, one who, like the rest of us, is learning a lot of tough life lessons through his mistakes because that’s what we do at that age.
Tatis will have a long road ahead of him to return to the graces of his teammates and fans in San Diego and otherwise, but as Manny Machado said on Tuesday, “America Forgives.”
“In this day and age, obviously, he’s going to have to work hard. And ultimately, I don’t want to give him the excuse of him being a 23-year-old. But ultimately, he is, he has a lot on his plate; he’s a 23-year-old kid that had everything in his hands, and, you know, he’s feeling it. And he’s remorseful. I know that for a fact. Today was a big day for him.”
Tatis will take advantage of the 80-game rip and have shoulder surgery that he’s been putting off, and while his suspension will hurt the Padres in October, he’s begun the process of repairing the damage that his (as he called them) reckless decisions have done. So, for the time being, let’s hope that he’s learned some valuable life lessons and figured some things out.
Home Run Chases: Judge Hits No. 48, Pujols Stays Put
After nine straight games without a home run, Aaron Judge is making up for lost time with home runs on back-to-back nights. Last night’s 453-foot bomb off Mets’ starter Taijuan Walker was No. 48 on the season.
Judge’s 48th home run last night puts him just one home run behind Roger Maris’ 1961 pace through 124 team games. It also has him on pace for 63 home runs this season. Judge’s slump might have taken him out of the MLB single-season record consideration, as he’s still six home runs behind Barry Bonds’ 2001 pace.
Albert Pujols went homer-less in Chicago on Tuesday and remained at 693 in his pursuit of 700 career home runs.
Kerry Carpenter’s Journey to Detroit a Special One
Tigers beat writer Cody Stavenhagen wrote up an excellent profile on Detroit rookie Kerry Carpenter at The Athletic this morning, one that you should read today. Carpenter has gone from losing his father suddenly to cancer in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 to a major leaguer just 26 months later.
Carpenter was a nineteenth-round pick of the Tigers and often looked at as an older college hitter who might be nothing more than organizational depth. Carpenter was placed in Double-A due to his advanced age (by prospect standards), and he hit 22 home runs by June and forced a promotion to Triple-A. In Triple-A, Carpenter was hitting .331 with eight home runs after 34 games before he was called up to the majors.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who also lost his father at a young age, said that that shared bond has him rooting hard for Carpenter.
“Neither of our fathers are going to get to see a major-league debut, but that doesn’t mean he’s not proud,” Hinch said. “I’m rooting hard for this kid.”
Here’s Stavenhagen’s full story on Carpenter’s journey:
Odds and Ends
- Stavenhagen also put together a cool story on Pudge Rodriguez, who will throw out the first pitch at today’s Tigers game that I found while reading his story on Kerry Carpenter:
- Justin Verlander fired six innings of no-hit baseball before being removed at 91 pitches in an eventual victory over the Twins. Here’s Verlander striking out his former teammate Carlos Correa in Correa’s return to Minute Maid Park.
- In other Twins news, Byron Buxton has been placed on the 10-day IL with a hip strain:
- Jackie Bradley Jr. picked up an RBI at Fenway Park last night as a visitor, and the Blue Jays put on another display of offensive firepower against the Red Sox.
- Frankie Montas made his best effort in a Yankees uniform on Tuesday night. Montas allowed two earned runs on six hits in five and two-thirds innings while striking out six.
- Bryce Harper had a night in his first rehab game with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. The Phillies slugger mashed a pair of home runs and drove in four.
- Evan Drellich shared an excerpt from his new book ‘Winning Fixes Everything’ regarding Jeff Luhnow and deleted data on his phone: