The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are shaping up to be electric rivals this Major League Baseball season, with both teams doing what many other professional baseball teams refuse to these days: pay good baseball players to try winning a World Series title. Even early in the regular season, games between the two teams have felt like they have significant stakes. And on Saturday Fernando Tatis Jr. added a bit of spice to the mix after going yard off Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The enigmatic righty made waves earlier in spring training while routinely throwing pitches with his right eye closed, most notably against their division rival Padres. Bauer says the move is to work on making himself uncomfortable, chalking it up to “having a little bit of fun” according to ESPN.
“I figured if they can’t score off me with one eye open, it’s gonna be difficult to score off me with two eyes open,” Bauer told Alden Gonzalez in March. “Just having a little bit of fun.”
But baseball is a game of rules and respect, and Bauer has continued to play around with pitching with one eye open. He actually plunked a batter doing it later in spring training. And given the fire the regular season meetings have had, it’s perhaps no surprise that Tatis Jr. referenced the incident when he crushed a home run against Bauer in the top of the first inning.
As soon as the ball cleared the fence and Tatis Jr. rounded first, he turned back toward the mound (and then the dugout) to backpedal while covering his right eye with a gloved hand.
— MLB (@MLB) April 25, 2021
It’s about as direct a message as you can make in a game like this, and given the hot streak Tatis Jr. has been on lately he’s certainly not afraid to stir the pot a bit here. We’ll have to see what happens to follow this up, baseball being a game of respect and rules and whatnot. But Tatis Jr. made it clear on Saturday that he, too, likes to have a little bit of fun. This time at Bauer’s expense.
UPDATE: With the game tied 2-2 in the sixth, Tatis Jr. went yard again off Bauer, and this time did his taunting with a little hitch before third base and poked fun at Bauer doing the Billy Walk as he crossed home plate.
TATIS JR. IS UNREAL 🤯
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 25, 2021