Zach Gelb Blasts Fernando Tatis Jr. Critics

Fernando Tatis Jr. did nothing wrong, Zach Gelb says, and the antiquated response from baseball purists has been "some of the dumbest stuff I've ever heard"

Zach Gelb
August 19, 2020 - 10:06 am

Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the most exciting young players in baseball, caused quite a stir Monday night, this after hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers. 

Grand slams are usually good things for hitters. This grand slam, apparently, was not.

Tatis, 21, was accused of breaking one of baseball’s “unwritten rules.” The Padres were up 10-3 in the eighth inning, and Tatis had a 3-0 count. He is apparently not supposed to swing in that situation, but he did – and took a tongue lashing as a result.

Zach Gelb couldn’t believe it.

“The stuff that I’m hearing, the stuff that I’m reading in the last 24 hours is some of the dumbest stuff I’ve ever read or I’ve ever heard,” Gelb said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Fernando Tatis Jr. is a young sensation. He is everything that baseball needs – a young, energetic star who is showing personality and leading the league in home runs. It’s so funny to me with baseball; whenever we are leading with baseball, nine times out of ten, it’s usually something negative, whether it’s steroids, whether it’s the Astros’ cheating scandal or one of these dopey, unwritten rules that supposedly Fernando Tatis Jr. violated last night.”

Tatis leads the majors with 11 home runs, which should be celebrated. But it isn’t, Gelb says, because of “baseball purists” and people who “live with antiquated beliefs” and “make absolutely zero sense.”

“Is he on the field? Is he in the batter’s box?” Gelb asked. “Yes, he’s on the field and he’s in the batter’s box. Therefore, if he’s at the plate and a meatball is delivered, he should clobber that meatball and . . . hit that grand slam. There should be zero conversation about this, but there is because baseball is stuck in their old ways, stuck in their unwritten rules, and is so far behind the times.”

Rangers manager Chris Woodward voiced displeasure with Tatis on Monday. So did, shockingly, Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

“It’s not just the Texas Rangers who are upset that Tatis did this,” Gelb said in disbelief. “It’s his own frickin’ manager, Jayce Tingler, whoever that is, who used to work for the Texas Rangers. If you ask me, Jayce Tingler is more concerned about his feelings for his old employer than he is for his own superstar. I get it. You gave him the take sign, you told him do not swing, and he swung and he he hit a grand slam. Fernando Tatis Jr., with what he’s done so far in his career, should be able to hit a grand slam in that spot, should be able to decide if he wants to swing or not swing. Now some are trying to drag Fernando Tatis Jr. through the mud with some system and some stupid unwritten rules that make absolutely zero sense. I don’t get this. 

“It is so stupid to me how much we preach about sportsmanship in professional sports,” Gelb continued. “I’m not saying that players should act like a bunch of clowns, that players should not treat the game with respect. What is disrespectful, though, on a 3-0 pitch in a seven-run game in the eighth inning, doing your job, swinging, making contact and parking the ball in the right-field bleachers? What’s the problem? We’re not going to talk about what Fernando Tatis has been doing, how great he’s been for the game of baseball, and we’re going to sit here and bitch about that? Are you kidding me? What sense does that make? It makes absolutely zero sense.”

Major League Baseball, Gelb said, is in need of personality, and Tatis has provided it. And this is the response?

“You get that with a 21-year-old in Fernando Tatis Jr., and now all of a sudden how dare he do his job and swing at a 3-0 pitch?” Gelb asked. “Get the heck out of here. Chris Woodward, shut your mouth. Jayce Tingler, shut your mouth. And the fact that Fernando Tatis Jr. had to apologize [Monday] night, get out of here. What are you apologizing for?”