Saturday’s Dodgers-Padres was eventful for several reasons — much like the other six times these two teams played in the last two weekends — but what stood out were the back-and-forth between Trevor Bauer and Fernando Tatis Jr.
After the game, Bauer said he’s all for player celebrations, and teams going back and forth at each other.
“If you give up a homer, a guy should celebrate it. It’s hard to hit in the big leagues, so I’m all for it,” Bauer said Saturday. “I think it’s important that the game moves in that direction and we stop throwing at people because they celebrated having some success on the field.”
In a video on Sunday morning, Bauer went into further detail, rating and critiquing the various celebrations from Tatis, including his bat flip, covering one eye, and the Conor McGregor strut, the latter two things Bauer has done, including in spring training against the Padres.
“This entire time, everything that he has done has been directed at his own dugout. It hasn’t been anything yelling at me, nothing at our guys. Just him celebrating with his teammates and being fired up, so highest of high marks on that,” Bauer said. “A lot of people get upset about the celebrations because, ‘Oh, it’s showing up the other pitcher or the other team.’ In no way has he shown me up or show the Dodgers up. He’s just celebrating with his teammates.”
Most of the video was playful in nature, a pretty standard back-and-forth between two players, an exchange that on Sunday morning even prompted Tatis to send Bauer a photoshopped picture of him holding Bauer as a baby.
This referenced something Bauer also addressed in the video, that before hitting his second home run of Saturday’s game, he peeked back at catcher Will Smith’s positioning just before the pitch.
This was something Bauer took issue with. From his video:
“If you’re going to look at the catcher’s signs — right there, there’s that head move — if you’re going to do that, and celebrate it, that’s tough. That’s tough. Either be good enough to not have to look at the signs, and then you can celebrate, or if you do have to look at the signs, I don’t know about the celebration, man. It’s a tough one. This brings up the question of unwritten rules. Am I mad about the celebrations, and the bat flips and all that stuff? No. However, if you start looking at signs, if you start pulling this bush league stuff, that’s when people get pissed off.
“A lot of people get pissed at the celebrations, but whatever, they’re just soft. But that’s the type of stuff that would get you hit in other games. I’m mild-mannered about it. I’m going to send a message more this way, saying, ‘Hey that’s not okay. If you keep doing it, something will have to happen. Baseball policing itself, this is where it would have to happen, because there’s no — if Tatis is just looking at Will right here, he can just very easily be in the box and just look back at Will, and then Will can’t give the signs, and then the game just doesn’t go anywhere. But there’s no rule that says he can’t look back, so there’s just no real remedy for the catcher and the pitcher to use to counteract looking back at the signs. So the remedy is, if you look back at the signs, that’s fine. There’s no rule that says I can’t stick a fastball in your ribs, and that’s kind of been how it’s been handled traditionally in baseball up until this point.
“Flip the bat and do all that stuff, fine. If you’re going to look at the signs, not okay. And if you do it again, the team that you’re playing might not take too kindly to it, and there might have to be some on-field stuff. I’m not saying that’s the case here, because I don’t mind it, and I’m going to send my message here and tell him that’s not okay.”
If there was any bad blood from this supposed violation of baseball’s unwritten rules, nothing came of it during Sunday’s game.
Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he had not seen that Tatis might have peeked back at the catcher.
“When you’re talking about peeking, that’s just not the way you play baseball,” Roberts said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Fernando as a ballplayer, the way he plays the game. But if that’s the case — which I don’t know — it will be noted.”
When asked to clarify if “noted” meant the catcher making adjustment, Roberts added, “No, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
If anything is still simmering from the Dodgers’ side, they better put it on low heat, because these two teams don’t play again for nearly two months. The next Dodgers-Padres series is June 21-23 in San Diego.
A series worth watching with both eyes open.
- The Padres and Dodgers set the stage for a memorable summer, writes Alden Gonzalez at ESPN.
- MLB.com’s Dodgers stat of the day highlights something Dustin May on Sunday wqs the youngest to do since Clayton Kershaw.
- Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, brother of Corey, was mired in a 2-for-33 slump, so the left-handed batter ceremoniously destroyed some of his bats. Ryan Divish at the Seattle Times sought details, and got this from the elder Seager, “I think I’m gonna blame Ryan Stiles (Mariners clubhouse manager). I think some of the bats he ordered for me were right-handed bats, so they weren’t really working.”