Here we go again with baseball and its unwritten rules.
This time, Rangers manager Chris Woodward and his players are upset that Fernando Tatis Jr. crushed a grand slam on a 3-0 count with the Padres holding a 10-3 lead in the eighth inning Monday night.
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That’s right. The Rangers are not upset that pitcher Juan Nicasio threw three straight balls with the bases loaded or mad about being down 10-3. They’re angry because Tatis did what a batter is paid to do ... hit.
In baseball, you get three strikes. The MLB average for on-base percentage is .319, essentially meaning a hitter succeeds just 32% of the time. Imagine shooting 32% in basketball or a quarterback completing 32% of his passes. Every player has the right to take advantage of every good strike he sees because you don’t get many.
Tatis Jr. did just that. He saw a 3-0 fastball and crushed it. While doing so, he made history and became the first player in Padres history with a seven-RBI game. He leads baseball in home runs, RBIs and runs scored. Still, the Rangers weren’t impressed.
“You’re up by seven in the eighth inning; it’s typically not a good time [to swing] 3-0,” Woodward said. “It’s kind of the way we were raised in the game. But ... the norms are being challenged.”
Here’s the thing: Woodward is 44 years old. Tatis Jr. is 21. The “norms” shouldn’t be the same for a game more than 100 years old.
Unwritten rules are becoming one of the most outdated parts of baseball. Players such as Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto are the future of the game, and they have brought a level of swagger that is different, but it’s needed to keep baseball relevant and progressing forward.
Sportsmanship is important, but this didn’t seem like an example of disrespecting the opposing team. It was a seven-run lead in the top of the eighth inning. The Rangers had two more chances to hit, and it’s not like teams haven’t come back from seven-run deficits in recent years. The Braves did it last season, and the Indians in 2017. Coincidentally, the Cleveland game was against the Rangers.
Tatis Jr. comes from a baseball family. His father played 11 seasons. It’s unlikely that it was his intention to rub it in. He even apologized after the game.
The next thing to monitor is how will the Rangers respond. Well, they threw a fastball behind Manny Machado on the next pitch, and Tatis Jr. will possibly have to wear some extra padding today.
It’s a divided issue in baseball. Some people think the unwritten rules should never change, and others are tired of them. Tatis Jr.‘s own manager didn’t agree with him swinging, but some others in baseball are showing their support, including one of the greatest catchers of all time.
The Mavs were up by five points, in position to take down the second-seeded Clippers, when Kristaps Porzingis was ejected from the game. He was ejected after stepping in to defend Luka Doncic. A confrontation with Marcus Morris Sr. led to his second technical foul, resulting in an automatic ejection.
NBA referees are typically tighter with their whistles in the postseason, but not this time. Watching one of the best players be removed from a playoff game because of a slight push is not what many people wanted to see. Not even Clippers coach Doc Rivers was happy to see that.
It wasn’t just Rivers. Many of the world’s biggest athletes took exception to the ejection. LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Patrick Mahomes and Kevin Love all made comments on Twitter.
“That ejection is super soft...,” Nowitzki said on Twitter.
After the ejection, the Clippers took control and won the game. Maybe this can be a learning lesson and referees will let the players play a little bit more going forward.
Dez Bryant could have a new team soon if his workout goes well. Bryant is in Baltimore gearing up for a workout with the Ravens.
Bryant is 31 and hasn’t played since 2017 with the Dallas Cowboys. He signed a contract with the Saints the following season but tore his Achilles before he could see game action.
The Ravens’ receiving corps needs improvement. Tight end Mark Andrews led the team with 852 receiving yards last season. Marquise Brown led wide receivers with just 584 yards. Bryant has topped 584 yards in six of his last seven seasons. The one year he fell short was 2015, when he was limited to nine games because of injury.