Late in the offseason, Padres superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. made big waves by signing a 14-year, $340 million contract extension. It remains to be seen how the 22-year-old wunderkind will handle the pressure of the contract in the regular season.
For spring training, it's all about getting things in order for the baseball that matters and we'll just have to ... hold on, I'm being told something fun happened.
That would be Tatis committing unthinkable acts to a poor and assumed-to-be innocent baseball, which met the business end of a wooden club, was launched the other way at over 113 miles per hour and traveled 441 not-so-joyful feet (stats via Sarah Langs).
Well, at least it wasn't joyful for the ball (or Diamondbacks lefty Caleb Smith). It was pretty damn joyful for the rest of us.
The best part is with this coming off the heels of the 2020 Padres branding themselves "Slam Diego," it was indeed a grand slam. As noted, it wasn't cheap. Note how much room there was to spare. Salt River Fields is no bandbox.
Does this actually matter? Of course not. Neither spring stats for individual players nor team wins/losses mean much of anything in terms of impacting the regular season. It's just that we haven't seen baseball for months and it's an awful lot of fun to watch Tatis launch a grand slam with such authority.
Tatis hit .277/.366/.571 (155 OPS+) with 11 doubles, two triples, 17 homers, 45 RBI, 50 runs, 11 steals, 2.8 WAR and a whole lot of immeasurable fun in 59 games last season for the upstart Padres. He finished fourth in NL MVP voting in his second season. He was only 21.
The main message from the Tuesday slam? Expect more from Tatis.