Fernando Tatis Jr. has gotten plenty of support from players in both leagues after he swung at a 3-0 pitch and hit a grand slam while his Padres were holding a seven-run lead.
There were charges that he’d broken an unwritten rule, but there was no shortage of support for him taking that big swing.
So at some level, having the A’s Matt Chapman offer his blessing for breaking one of baseball’s unwritten rules is just piling on.
The 21-year-old Tatis is part of baseball’s new wave. Chapman isn’t, not exactly, but at 27 is hardly ready for an AARP card.
And Chapman says the dilemma on whether or not to swing at that 3-0 pitch in a lopsided game is not strictly a matter of right-vs.-wrong.
“There’s a huge gap between the oldest player in the league and the youngest player in the league,” Chapman said Thursday. “And when I was brought up playing the game of baseball, I learned a completely different game than what I’m playing now.
“There have been rule changes where (base runners) can’t take catchers out. And you can’t go out of your way to break up double plays. And (pitchers) don’t throw at people. They police the game much differently. There are a lot of really different things, and the game is changing.”
What does that have to do with Tatis?
The way Chapman sees it, the unwritten rules that worked as recently as 10 years ago are basically irrelevant.
“They don’t exactly fly today,” Chapman said.
And he has a solution. It’s not on the hitters to change their way. To Chapman’s point of view, it’s up to pitchers to throw more fastballs, the pitch hitters most want to see.
“Look at the way guys pitch,” he said. “Pitchers throw 98, 99 miles per hour pretty regularly, but they only throw the fastball once in an at-bat. I’ve had plenty of at-bats where guys were throwing 100 miles per hour and I get one fastball.
“So, for me, I have no problem with (Tatis) swinging at a 3-0 pitch. That was probably the best pitch he was going to see. If you take that 3-0 pitch, then you’re 3-1 and you probably get a 3-1 slider. And then you’re at 3-2 and out probably get a 3-2 changeup and there’s no telling what happens.
“I think once pitchers start throwing 3-1 fastballs, I think guys will start taking 3-0 fastball. The game is just changing. You know it might have been a problem to some people some time ago. But you know I'm still adjusting some of these new rules and things and I think that, you know, it's the game. The game changing and you got to do damage when you can do it.”
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3
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