Dude. Seriously? Is Fernando Tatís Jr. really taking a peak at the catcher while hitting? ‘Cause that’s certainly what it looked like right before he launched a Trevor Bauer cutter two balls outside over the left centerfield fence yesterday. Will Smith threw down the number three, then right as he’s retracting his fingers, Tatís took a glance downward and likely saw Smith start to move outside out of the corner of his eye, thus revealing the location of the pitch.
Did it help him? Maybe. Doesn’t matter, though. Fernando Tatís Jr. is one of the brightest young stars in MLB. Doing bush league bullshit like this is a terrible look, no pun intended.
hIDe YoUR siGNs BeTteR
I really hate to use the “you clearly never played baseball” card to invalidate someone’s opinion; it’s pretty condescending and counter-productive most of the time. But my God is it hard not to when you have people on Twitter rushing to Fernando Tatís Jr.’s defense because Will Smith “should have concealed his signs/positioning better.” This is something you understand as a Little Leaguer. You don’t peak at the catcher when you’re hitting. You just don’t do it. Ever. There is practically no defense for it as a catcher. If the hitter wants to see the catcher’s signs, he can. It is one of the most unsportsmanlike things you can do on a ball field, truly.
Tatís knows this, because every player knows this. I will say it again. Every. Player. Knows. This. You do not, under any circumstances, look back at the catcher while he’s giving the signs and/or setting up. If you do, and it is noticed, you will be receiving a special delivery up and in, often times on the next pitch. 100% of players know not to do this, as well as what the repercussions will be if they are caught, which is why it is such a rare occurrence. So why did Fernando Tatís Jr., a guy who grew up in an MLB clubhouse, decide to go down this path?
Let’s see what happens next. If the Dodgers go back and look at the film and decide Tatís did take a look back at Will Smith, they will retaliate against him in some way. Dave Roberts already hinted at it, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any baseball manager at any level that would not be on board with this.
Like I said, Tatís absolutely knows you can’t do that and come out unscathed. If I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, however, which I’d like to, I’ll assume it was the heat of the moment that got to him. Clutch situation. Two-strike count. One of the nastiest pitchers in baseball on the bump. Maybe he just couldn’t resist. Tatís is a 22-year-old kid with a mountain of expectation on his shoulders after all. It’s understandable (to a degree).
So I’m kindasortamaybe willing to give him a mulligan on this one. He’ll probably wear one pretty soon if the Dodgers feel he took a peak. Assuming he accepts his fate and simply takes his base without any hullabaloo, that’ll be the end of it. The Dodgers know he fucked up, the Padres know he fucked up, he knows he fucked up. There’s no good justification for this type of nonsense, but like I said, he made a mistake. Happens to everyone.
But that kind of bush league stuff can’t become the norm.