Fernando Tatis Jr. should be dream example for Giants' top prospects

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Dalton Johnson
·4 min read
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There's a reason baseball's unwritten rules are, well, unwritten. Nobody would want that much stupidity permanently etched in ink. 

Example No. 34,789 came Monday night when old white guys tried to ruin the best thing in baseball, San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., for being ridiculously talented and playing to win for all nine innings. The 21-year-old superstar broke the cardinal sin of swinging in a 3-0 count with his team up by seven runs against the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning. He hit a grand slam off pitcher Juan Nicasio, giving the Padres a 14-3 lead. What ensued next is exactly what's turning fans away from the sport.

The Rangers brought in pitcher Ian Gibaut, who then threw a 93 mph fastball behind the next batter, Manny Machado, on the first pitch. Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer told the Rangers dugout "we'll talk to him" after Tatis Jr.'s grand slam, and the young star had to listen to a whole lot of old-school B.S. from his own teammate. But what happened after the game is what truly set Twitter ablaze. 

Rangers manager Chris Woodward expressed his displeasure of Tatis Jr. swinging at the 3-0 pitch by saying "I didn't like it personally." Padres manager Jayce Tingler told reporters his player missed the take sign, and Tatis Jr. was forced to apologize for hitting a 407-foot grand slam.

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Players across the league stood up for Tatis Jr. on Twitter, including a long list of pitchers. It was another sad night for the game trying to handcuff someone who should be an example of how to play the game, not the opposite. 

When Tatis Jr. steps on a baseball field, his joy is felt from home plate to the left-field bleachers. He plays with non-stop passion, his engine never runs out of gas and he's off to a historic start in his MLB career. And, of course, the game wants to take his smile away.

Tatis Jr. has to be the Giants' biggest fear in the NL West right now. They're going to face him for a long, long time, and he's only getting better. He also should be their beacon of hope for a rising farm system.

The Padres didn't waste any time with Tatis Jr. He made his MLB debut on Opening Day last season at 20 years old against none other than the Giants, and made an instant impact. Not even old enough to legally buy a beer, Tatis Jr. went 2-for-3 in his debut with both of his hits coming off Madison Bumgarner. There has to be hope in the Giants' front office that Marco Luciano can be on that same path. 

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Luciano, 18, doesn't turn 19 years old until September. The teenage shortstop looks like the closest thing to the Giants' version of Tatis Jr. in years. He'll be 20 years old on Opening Day of the 2022 season, and there's a real chance he'll be ready for the big leagues.

The very moment Luciano breaks into the bigs, Giants fans, coaches and the front office should encourage him to play like Tatis Jr. every step of the way. Play with joy, play with passion, hit dingers on 3-0 counts no matter what the score is. 

The future is the focus in San Francisco, and the front office can only cross their fingers that they have the next Tatis Jr., and that shouldn't just mean his talent. Along with Luciano, Heliot Ramos (20), Joey Bart (23), Hunter Bishop (22), Patrick Bailey (21) and Alexander Canario (20) all could be future Giants stars. In the meantime, they should be pressing "like" on Tatis Jr. highlights every night, and they too should aspire to hit 1.000 in their major league careers on 3-0 counts.

Every team wants a player with Tatis Jr.'s talent. The sad reality is, far too many teams want to control a player as talented as Tatis Jr. He's Example A of how the game should be played, and what the Giants should aspire to with their top prospects. 

Fernando Tatis Jr. should be dream example for Giants' top prospects originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area