Hubbs already blogged the shit out of this story so if you're unfamiliar because you're dead, go check it out. KFC also added colorful perspective with a particular focus on the Rangers being total pussies in the situation:
I'm circling back here to go op-ed heavy after spending my day on twitter in the trenches with you guys hearing what everyone else has to say. And to that, there's definitely been a lot of opinions. Most of them are pretty good and I think we're all in agreement here that it's fucked up to come down hard on a superstar much less anyone for hitting a grand slam. But there's also an argument here for a reason, and that's because both managers acted VERY strongly in response to yet another direct clash between Baseball Guys and Public Opinion. So while I think the net result of this is pretty black & white:
… I also think it's worth talking about the grey area that exists in some people's brains:
Crazy that this is a national story line when nearly 9/10 people think it's just fine. It's impossible to get that many people to agree on anything, and yet this is NBD to basically everyone. That is everyone except the managers, including the Padres' very own Jayce Tingler.
We'll circle back on those comments in a second. For now I think it's important to do some collective history here and set the tone with a brief look at some key concepts:
Swinging On 3-0 In The First Place: Generally seen as a No-No going back to the dawn of time. Like kicking the extra point from the 2.5 yard line in the NFL forever without anyone going for two or questioning it. The reason is because making an out on a 3-0 count is unforgivable in the eyes of your manager and hitting coach. It's worse than giving up a hit on 0-2. So when you talk about swinging on 3-0, at least understand that for like 100 years people just didn't do it because making an out on 3-0 would get you murdered by the manager.
Without going empirical, there's been a shift with the advent of analytics. It's noticeably different now and that's been the case for years. Objectively, it's a change in the emphasis of scoring runs and hitting bombs. You don't even sacrifice bunt anymore because data overwhelmingly proves it actually hurts your win probably. You have to be able to hit the ball hard to win games, and the best pitch to hit hard is unquestionably a 3-0 fastball. So that's how we kind of think about swinging on 3-0. It's historically been something you don't do, but it's obviously changed. It's definitely not Bush League and never has been. If anything it's just been seen as "stupid" by your own teammates and manager.
- The History Of 3-0 Grandslams In The Big Leagues: I don't have the full book, but this should be enough
The next closest 7-run, 3-0 grandslam actually never happened before. Nor did a 3-0 grandslam happen with 5 or 6-run lead. So historically speaking, this was a first and needless to say neither manager handled it particularly well. So let's get back to these clowns.
- It's Unbelievable That Jayce Tingler Is (A) Named Jayce Tingler And (B) He Didn't Defend Fernando Tatis Jr.: I want to do my best to understand how a rookie manager fails to stand up for one of his superstars so just hang with me while I reason through this. The clip above actually starts with him being mad that Tatis missed a Take sign. Why you're giving signs up 7 runs is outside the scope of my jurisdiction, but I'm comfortable saying that Tatis probably wasn't looking for signs on 3-0 with the bases juiced, much less a Take sign.
It's also worth noting that Jayce Tingler was on the Rangers staff last year, so there's an actual inherent connection to your opponent supported by real relationships and shit. So when Chris Woodward gets pissed off, it's coming from a place where he managed 162 games next to Jayce Tingler last year. That adds a personal layer to the beef that basically boxes the rookie manager (Tingler) into saving some kind of face.
Then probably the last argument you could make for Jayce Tingler is that you're actually helping the pitcher by putting the ball in play on 3-0 with the bases loaded and 1-out of a 7-run game. Independent of the outcome (grandslam), a lot of managers would argue you just don't need that with Machado on deck. Like if they're down 2-runs in that game and he bounces into a double play with Manny waiting, everyone in the Padres dugout is questioning Tatis. So there could be some emphasis on building habits here, although Tingler expressly says that guys have the greenlight on 3-0. Just not in that situation… which obviously means he's very mad Tatis didn't get the sign
WITH ALL THAT SAID….
Jayce Tingler is a complete moron for doing anything but defending Fernando Tatis Jr. to his last breath. If I was the Padres owner I would be sick to my stomach. Like actually, physically sick to my stomach that my manager doesn't staunchly take the side of my best young player. The fact Tatis even had to consider an apology while the rest of the world laughs at the situation is disgusting. This kid should be on Cloud 9, overdosing on optimism with his career potential. And instead he's apologizing because his manager is mad he missed a sign against his former employer. Even trying to give Jayce Tingler as many angles and considerations my brain can muster, I still can't figure out how he didn't tell everyone to fuck off.
Somewhere else, Dusty Baker weeps at these developments.
- Stop Talking Shit About Juan Nicasio: You probably don't even know it but this is the guy who gave up the bomb. Everyone has talked so much shit about him when he hasn't even said a word. We're talking about a 10-year journeyman veteran reliever on his 7th team that just got called up from the alternate squad. You think he's giving an opinion about the Tatis grandslam? Absolutely not. Yet people still feel compelled to say stuff like "Then don't throw it down the middle on 3-0 you big crybaby!!!!"
Alexa show me the location of the Tatis. Jr. grandslam, please
Looks like a pretty solid 3-0 pitch to me. And 0-0 and 1-0 and 2-0 and 2-1 and 3-1. You can get outs in the big leagues with a 93mph cut fastball on the outer-quarter and lower-third of the plate. So don't give me this bullshit that he's crying about giving up the grandslam. He hasn't said shit and it wasn't even a cupcake.
But then people have come back and said "HE THREW BEHIND MACHADO THE VERY NEXT BATTER" which is completely false because Chris Woodward took him out of the game. Nicasio only exists in this moment because he threw the pitch. Let the man sleep tonight for fucksake.
But What About The Guy Who Threw At Machado? Ian Gibaut came in and instantly threw behind Manny. Bold move that a lot of people hate, but to be clear he's a 26 year-old born-and-raised Texan playing for the Rangers with 24 career innings under his belt. He's coming in to make an impression on his teammates and the clubhouse and all that shit. Even if you're a moron and getting suspended and you hate the rules, you're not going to convince a guy like Ian Gibaut that he doesn't have a duty to drill the next guy. For better or worse (worse, obviously) that can be the difference in Gibaut getting a chance with the Rangers. That's how you win over the front office and the staff because you're a guy with balls that isn't afraid of the controversy. That ideology may not be as publicly advertised but it's all over MLB bullpens. Gibaut would much rather be trashed publicly by everyone than by the 8-10 other guys in the bullpen.
On the bright side I think that's a dying concept. The reality though is we're a long ways from getting rid of it. Personally I'm a big proponent of what goes around comes around the baseball field. Like you don't have to start a fight the very next batter to get your point across. And making matters worse is that Tatis didn't hurt anyone but Chris Woodward's feelings. Like it wasn't a hard slide at 2nd base or collision at home or a couple Padres got drilled earlier in the game. In that case you ding one of the other guys so you create the internal controversy in the other dugout. So if Tatis went spikes up at 2nd base and blew up Elvis Andrus's ankle, then you drill Machado so that it's Machado going to Tatis to tell him to not slide spikes up. That's the rationale.
But if you're just throwing at dudes to throw at dudes because someone gave up a bomb, then you're a moron. Maybe not a pussy, but definitely a moron, and there's basically nothing MLB can do to get rid of it.
- This Is Exactly What's Wrong With Major League Baseball: Another one floating around that makes my head explode. Like what do you want MLB to do about two managers being complete pussies? The only reason you know about this game last night is because of the controversy. So arguing that this is killing MLB when it's CLEAR that there's an overwhelming public support for Tatis is fucking stupid. We now have a big storyline as we shift out of the "Should you bat flip" to the actual tactics of playing with a lead. Previously it's just been about style and composure and attitude. It's actually kinda awesome that we had a big discussion about where 3-0 grandslams with a 7+ run lead fit into the future of baseball. And it's even better we're all on the same page here.
I'm So Disappointed In Chris Woodward: How about that Chris? I'm not mad, I'm disappointed. You should be representing the new wave of baseball and aligned with where the game is heading. And surprisingly, it's not going back in time to your late 90's minor league days where the outdated fundamentals of competition were ruthlessly drilled into your brain. The concept of Back In My Day should all be dead and gone unless you actually have a My Day worth talking about. Example: Tito Francona can grandstand on this topic all day until he's dead because he actually has the experience and success.
Chris Woodward's managed 186 MLB games to a sub .500 record. He's got his entire career in front of him. He should be championing the changing times in baseball, not getting upset with his former Field Coordinator because one of the best players in the universe hit a 3-0 grandslam. Especially at a time when you need solid, young leadership in MLB that can properly usher in the inevitable change. Not new faces bitching about the same old things.