Fernando Tatis Jr. with his three-run homer against the Cardinals on October 1, 2020 next to José Bautista's hit in 2015. (The Associated Press)
Fernando Tatis Jr. has already made his mark in the Major League Baseball postseason
“El Niño,” nickname of the Padres' sensational shortstop, hit two home runs in San Diego's electrifying 11-9 comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday to tie the NL wild-card series 1-1.
Both ninths play a decisive match on Friday.
With his blonde dreadlocks bouncing around his helmet, Tatis danced down the first base line and animatedly gestured towards his teammates after igniting the comeback by lining up a three-run home run in the left field seats in the sixth inning.
Four batters after Myers led off the seventh with a solo homer for a 7-6 lead, Tatis was more dramatic after his two-run homer to right field. Tatis threw his bat, turned and looked at his teammates before starting his trot and then gave several high-fives after hitting the plate.
Tatis's “bat flip” sparked the memory of Major League Baseball fans as they recalled José Bautista's hit five years ago.
In the decisive fifth game of the 2015 American League Division Series, Bautista hit a three-run home run for the Toronto Blue Jays knocking out the Texas Rangers. The Dominican signed the moment with one of the most memorable bat flips in postseason history.
The moment was a bad taste for the members of Texas at the time, especially Mitch Moreland, who watched the moment from the dugout and considered Bautista's gesture as a lack of respect in relation to the unwritten rules of the game.
Moreland is now Tatis's teammate and saw nothing wrong with the new MLB star's “dogging”.
“That was long ago. It's a different game now, ”Moreland told MLB.com.
“It is a new moment. I don't know if they'll ever see me throw one like that. But now it is different. It is a different kind of entertainment. It seems like it's happening more and more across the league. It's just the new baseball, ”he added.
Tatis Jr., who finished the shortened season with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs to return the Padres to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, defended the emotions displayed in the game.
“We are in the playoffs. The game was not over, the work is not over until we get those 27 outs, we cannot back down, we cannot settle. There was a lot of game to do. I wanted to keep motivating my colleagues, just to let them know, to keep going. They are a team (San Luis) that responds, so we have to keep doing the work, “he said.
Tatis Jr.'s actions this season also sparked a debate in the regular season when on August 17 he hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch and with his San Diego Padres leading seven runs in the eighth inning against Texas.