The San Diego Padres signed Fernando Tatis Jr. in February to the third-largest contract in MLB history (14-year, $340 million), and for good reason. The 22-year-old is the new face of baseball, and he reminded fans why with his performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend.
Tatis launched two home runs off Dodgers ace Trevor Bauer on Saturday, celebrating each homer by mocking the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner on his way around the bases.
After hitting a first-inning home run off Bauer, Tatis turned back toward the Padres dugout and covered up one of his eyes, a fitting way to taunt Bauer, who pitched a spring training game against the Dodgers with one eye shut. Then, in the sixth, Tatis ripped another moon shot off Bauer, breaking a 2-2 tie. As he crossed home plate, Tatis did his own version of the McGregor strut.
Following the game, Bauer talked about Tatis mocking him, and he was all for it.
“I like it,” Bauer told reporters. “I think that pitchers who have that done to them and react by throwing at people or getting upset and hitting people or whatever – I think it’s pretty soft. If you give up a homer, the guy should celebrate it. It’s hard to hit in the big leagues. So, I’m all for it.”
The rivalry continued Sunday on Twitter, when Bauer latched onto tweet in which someone accused Tatis of looking back at the catcher’s signs to guess which pitch was coming next.
Tatis seemingly responded by basically asking, “Who’s your daddy?” with a photo of himself holding a small child with Bauer’s face.
But of course, Bauer wasn’t about to let Tatis get the last word.
Let’s hope this is just the beginning of MLB’s next great rivalry. Sure looks like it.