During the Padres-Rangers game on Monday night (box score), San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam. In the eighth inning, Tatis came up to face Juan Nicasio with the bases loaded and sent a 3-0 pitch over the right field wall at Globe Life Field. The homer put the Padres up 14-3.
At the 3-0 count, Padres manager Jayce Tingler said that he gave Tatis the sign to take the pitch and not swing. "It's a learning opportunity ... he'll grow from it," Tingler said after the game. Rangers manager Chris Woodward expressed disdain with Tatis' home run and claimed that it "challenged the unwritten rules in today's game." Tingler worked under Woodward last year, so there's an added layer to their reactions.
Tatis' grand slam and both managers' postgame comments have -- unfortunately -- reignited a futile debate over baseball's "unwritten rules." We've rounded up reactions from both current and former players on the issue for your reading pleasure.
Reds lefty Amir Garrett didn't hesitate to brush off the idea of unwritten rules in 2020.
I don’t follow unwritten rules...— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 18, 2020
Hall of Famer Johnny Bench thinks everyone should swing on a 3-0 count.
So you take a pitch...now you're 3-1. Then the pitcher comes back with a great setup pitch...3-2. Now you're ready to groundout into a double play. Everyone should hit 3-0. Grand Slams are a huge stat. @tatis_jr https://t.co/4D3ilsD9Sh— Johnny Bench (@JohnnyBench_5) August 18, 2020
The dynamic White Sox superstar Tim Anderson questioned why Tingler didn't support his player, adding that the game wasn't over yet.
This why the game won’t grow!! Why the manager don’t have his back through whatever anyway. The Game Wasn’t Over Yet💪🏾 #GoodSwingBra Dont Apologize next time let them sit in it bra💯 https://t.co/RpaFppCUUY— T A 7 (@TimAnderson7) August 18, 2020
Tatis' grand slam got respect from pitchers like Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer.
3-0 counts rule 😒😒 you just have to pitch better if you don’t want that to happen I never see that rule and I take my self as an example because I’m the king🤴🏽🤴🏽of 3-0 counts 🤷🏻♂️🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/TkMDDOCIkX— Eduardo Rodriguez (@eduardorod5) August 18, 2020
Hey @tatis_jr listen up:— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) August 18, 2020
1) Keep swinging 3-0 if you want to, no matter what the game situation is
2) Keep hitting homers, no matter what the situation is
3) Keep bringing energy and flash to baseball and making it fun
4) The only thing you did wrong was apologize. Stop that.
Right-hander Collin McHugh was pretty straight forward with his viewpoint.
Swinging in a 3-0 count should not be against any rules, no matter the score.— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) August 18, 2020
Before a game I would always look to see what % a guy swings 3-0. If it’s over 20%, it means I can’t just groove one.
The guys who will never “give you a pitch” at the plate are the toughest AB’s.
In this data driven baseball age, there’s nowhere to hide. If you have a tendency, it’s gonna be exploited. Swinging 3-0, to me, is the same as swinging first pitch of an AB. If you do it enough times, a pitcher can’t game plan as well against you.— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) August 18, 2020
Just the conversation of "unwritten rules" in baseball left Twins right-hander Trevor May completely flabbergasted.
This “unwritten rule” conversation happening in baseball latey is absolutely wild.— Trevor “IamTrevorMay” May (@IamTrevorMay) August 18, 2020
Retired MLB infielder Trevor Plouffe also defended Tatis and protested that the 'unwritten rules' are in his words, "stupid."
Ya we were taught that coming up but it’s ok to change when you learn that the things you were taught are stupid. https://t.co/z4xsHwxYkq— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) August 18, 2020
This is my hill. I will die on it.— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) August 18, 2020
3-0 swings should be a regular part of baseball, no matter the score. @ me all you want. The ONLY thing wrong is that it might get your teammate hit because the opposing pitcher had his feelings hurt. So is the wrong in the act or retribution?
Nobody. Not on my watch. pic.twitter.com/BNxbtitDG6— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) August 18, 2020
Former Mets utility player Ty Kelly reminded us all that there are bigger priorities than debating swinging on a 3-0 pitch.
swinging 3-0 doesn’t matter the planet is dying.— Ty Kelly (@tykelly11) August 18, 2020
Mr. October himself, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, expressed his support for Tatis and the energy he brings to the game.
Fernando Tatis keep playing hard and playing great, it’s a pleasure to watch you play, love your success and the Padres rise to be a winner. Keep leading the way. It ain’t easy to hit Hrs. Keep bringing energy you have to the game, we need players like you. An All Star— Reggie Jackson (@mroctober) August 18, 2020
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo proved the 3-0 no swing "rule" is a contradiction in itself.
Anthony Rizzo on ESPN 1000 today: "If we're supposed to take 3-0 then the P is supposed to throw us a fastball on 3-1. "— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) August 18, 2020
Before Tuesday's game, Padres manager Jayce Tingler reflected on Monday's events, including walking back on his "teachable moment" comment. Tingler said he was referencing the concept of picking up signs, not unwritten rules.
Tingler says his "teachable moment" comment last night re. Tatis Jr. wasn't in reference to unwritten rules. Says it was all about signs, & Tatis Jr missing take sign, and signs can't be missed.— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) August 18, 2020
But, Tingler says, "I'm glad he miissed this one."
Tingler: "I probably learned a lesson last night. Tatis went ahead and broke it open. As far as any limitations or restrictions, as long as he being himself, I think he would say he has lot of freedoms out there."— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) August 18, 2020
Says he & Tatis tlkd 20 minutes on bus last night & again this AM
Tingler also says it bothers him that Tatis Jr. essentially had to apologize postgame last night for swinging 3-0. "We as coaches shouldn't be story. It's players' game 100%."— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) August 18, 2020
Tingler also said this of his 3-0 take sign:
"Obviously it wasn't the right call," Jayce Tingler says of his 3-0 take sign.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) August 18, 2020
Former MLB third baseman and CBS Sports HQ's Will Middlebrooks gave his reasoning why he's siding with Tatis.
Well... now @tatis_jr has apologized more than any Astros player has... baseball can be a little ridiculous at times. Keep playing your game big guy... players like you are not only the future, but the now. Love your game.— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) August 18, 2020
Players get paid based off of their numbers and performance.... in the words of @KattWilliams pic.twitter.com/hEVNsWdT4A— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) August 18, 2020
Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty broke down Tatis' at-bat in simple terms.
don’t like it... don’t fall behind 3-0— Jack Flaherty (@Jack9Flaherty) August 18, 2020
Pirates manager Derek Shelton advocated for baseball players having fun, especially in this fan-less 2020 season.
Unwritten rules?#Pirates | @Pirates pic.twitter.com/4k4QNbv0Xk— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) August 18, 2020
"It's a fun game. I think we have to encourage kids to have fun and enjoy the game," Shelton said on MLB Network Radio Tuesday. "I think we need to let kids play. The unwritten rules of the game have gone bygones. There is respect ... but in terms of letting guys play, I think you have to let them do that."