There are still 13 regular-season games between the Dodgers and Padres, and all but one have lived up to the hype. It’s not often that you feel playoff-like intensity in mid-April, but that’s exactly how each contest has felt.
The two teams have split their 6 meetings thus far, and there have been plenty of fireworks from both sides. Over the previous two games, however, it has been the Fernando Tatis Show at Dodger Stadium.
The Friar shortstop has gone deep four times in his past two outings, awakening from an early-season slump that had many questioning what could be ailing one of the game’s brightest young stars.
In last night’s game, there was a bit of controversy following each of Tatis’s homers against Trevor Bauer.
The first home run came on the second pitch of the game, after which Fernando turned to his dugout and covered one eye, a direct response to Bauer pitching with one eye closed against the Padres during Spring Training.
Fernando Tatis Jr. covered up one eye after he hit a home run off of Trevor Bauer! pic.twitter.com/tq1TmNy7dI
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) April 25, 2021
Tatis got the best of Bauer again in the 6th inning, this time hitting him with his ‘McGregor strut’ celebration as he crossed home plate.
Fernando Tatis Jr. does the Trevor "Conor McGregor" Bauer walk after hitting his second home run off Bauer in the game. pic.twitter.com/SEr7ZzA2Q2
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) April 25, 2021
Tatis was asked about his celebrations following the game, and the young shortstop was completely honest.
“Probably payback,” Tatis said with a laugh. “It’s just fun. When you know you’re facing a guy like that, he’s doing his stuff, he’s having fun on the mound. When you get him, you get him. You celebrate too. He’s a hard guy to deal with.”
As for Bauer’s reaction, he was surprisingly okay with the celebrations. It’s a good thing too, given that Trevor is also known for his antics on the mound.
It would be very easy to look at the antics whenever the Padres score and see it as an insult, but the truth is there is mutual respect between these guys. They understand how hard the game is, and they deserve to celebrate their successes. The intensity level during these games is so high that asking a player to not react and to show no emotion is just unrealistic. Players like Fernando Tatis and Trevor Bauer are trying to usher in a new generation of fans who understand that emotion and energy help make the game more enjoyable, and they are slowly succeeding in doing so.
There was a time when a player showing up a pitcher would be met with a 95 MPH heater to the next batter’s rib cage, and no one would question it. That’s not where the game is headed, however, and rightfully so. Emotion and excitement are a part of life, and the more that we embrace that, the more we can enjoy matchups like the ones Bauer and Tatis gave us on Saturday night. All that remains to be seen is if the Padres can take it the same way that they dish it out.