Late last week, MLB announced that Fernando Tatis, Jr. would be suspended for 80 games for a violation of the PED policy. Tatis, Jr. suffered a broken wrist from a bicycle crash in the off-season and has not played at all this season; reports about two weeks ago said he was ”taking live batting practice” and could possibly be back in the Padres’ lineup in September. Now, that is surely not going to happen because the Padres only have 63 games left in the 2022 season meaning Tatis, Jr. will not be in any playoff games this year and will sit out a bunch of games next April.
Reports say that he tested positive for clostebol which is an anabolic steroid that is banned by MLB and is on the banned list for the Olympics also. The story here is that Tatis, Jr. used a skin balm containing clostebol to treat a case of ringworm; he has apologized for his error and the Padres’ brass has been supportive in public but has to be very unhappy in private.
In Al Capp’s classic comic strip, L’il Abner, there was a character named Joe Btfsplk; Joe was terminally unlucky; Joe was a jinx to anyone and everyone who was near him; Joe was so unlucky that he did not even have any vowels in his family name. I am beginning to wonder if Fernando Tatis, Jr. is a real-life Joe Btfsplk or if Tatis, Jr. is simply dumb beyond measure.
Tatis, Jr. came to the Padres in 2019 at the ripe old age of 20. In three seasons with the Padres, he has a .292 batting average and an OPS of .965. The Padres recognized that they had a talent on their hands and signed him to a 14-year deal worth $340M. Since that time, he has had the bicycle accident; he did not seek surgery or corrective measures promptly making a bad situation worse than it had to be; then came the “ringworm” which he treated without consulting the Padres medical staff and now he is suspended for 80 games. [Aside: I am certainly not a physician, but why might one treat a case of ringworm with an anabolic steroid?] Oh, and doctors have told him that he needs shoulder surgery, but he has refused to go under the knife; maybe he can use his suspension time to get that item taken care of.
If my calculations are correct, the Padres are still on the hook for more than $300M for a guy who does not seem to be able to get out of his own way. The situation is even more confusing given that Tatis, Jr. is the son of a former major leaguer meaning that he should be in sync with concepts such as team responsibility and working with doctors to keep his body in good condition. Tatis, Jr. is an excellent player who could be a face-of-the-franchise guy. At the moment, he is looking like a waste of talent.
Moving on … Another story from last week that made me wonder was the announcement by the Washington Commanders that they had fired defensive line coach, Sam Mills III. Teams normally do not fire assistant coaches in the middle of training camp and of all the parts of the Washington Commanders’ roster, it sure seemed to me that the defensive line was a bright spot.
The Commanders’ coach, Ron Rivera, is a stand-up guy, so I paid attention to his explanation for this move:
“Just a difference in philosophy for the most part and we’ll go from there.”
So, just move along … nothing to see here. Except maybe there is something to see. Sam Mills III began his coaching career with the Carolina Panthers in 2005. He had been with the team for 6 seasons in a variety of positions when Ron Rivera took over the head coaching position there in 2011. Rivera kept Mills III on his staff from 2011 until 2019 when the two parted company because Rivera was fired. Mills III stayed on with the Panthers until Rivera took over the Commanders in 2020 whereupon Rivera hired Mills III.
So, let me review the bidding here. These two guys worked together for most of a decade and Rivera specifically hired Mills III when Rivera got a new position in the league – – and now suddenly in the middle of training camp, there is a “difference in philosophy”? Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…
One more interesting note from last week … People say that a good reason to go to a baseball game is that you may see something happen there that you have never seen before. Well, that surely happened for the folks who went to see the Springfield Cardinals play the Amarillo Sod Poodles in a AA minor league game in the Texas League last week. The Cardinals’ Tyler Chandler did something that no player in the history of MLB has ever done. He hit for “The Home Run Cycle” meaning that he hit a solo home run, a two-run home run, a three-run home run and a grand slam home run in the same game.
Finally, since a “difference in philosophy” was part of an item here, let me close with some views of philosophy:
“Philosophy is an unusually ingenious attempt to think fallaciously.” [Bertrand Russell]
“Philosophy, n.: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.” [Ambrose Bierce]
“I think I think; therefore, I think I am.” [Ambrose Bierce]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………