Fernando Tatis Jr. Is Already Hearing It From the Haters

While working his way back to MLB from a performance enhancing drug suspension, the young star was called "cheater" by a minor league opponent

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels
Perhaps the most-hyped young player in MLB is sure to face boo birds this season
Photo by Matt Thomas / San Diego Padres / Getty Images

Fernando Tatis Jr. isn’t eligible to play baseball for the San Diego Padres until April 20 while he serves the rest of an 80-game suspension from MLB for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. When he returns to the Majors, he’s sure to hear his share of hate, especially from fans of rival National League West clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. But apparently Tatis didn’t have to wait that long for shade throwing. All he had to do was take a minor league pitcher deep during rehab to spark a personal attack — not from fans, but from the pitcher himself.

MLB Warns Players Sexual Enhancement Pills May Include PEDs
The use of over-the-counter sex pills is prevalent among baseball players

In a Triple-A contest Wednesday between Padres affiliate the El Paso Chihuahuas and the Giants’ minor league club, the Sacramento River Cats, Tatis launched a home run well beyond the left field wall. Known for his showboating, Tatis didn’t disappoint, taking his time going around the base paths and executing his signature hop as he strolled into third. He thanked the good lord above at home with a double point upstairs, while the obviously godless River Cat home fans serenaded him with boos.

After the game, the pitcher who surrendered the Tatis bomb, Kade McClure, commented underneath a video post of the affair on Twitter. Seemingly mimicking a media headline writer — which I personally appreciate — McClure wrote: “**cheater hits a homerun on a rehab assignment during a steroid suspension**.”

McClure, who’s 27 and in his first season with the River Cats, deleted the tweet yesterday. But thanks to the latest in screenshot technology, it will live on indefinitely. The vitriol directed at Tatis is sure to continue on much longer, too, something he’s well aware of.

“It’s going to be one of the most emotional years, I feel like, in my career,” Tatis told reporters at the beginning of spring training. “I’m looking to embrace it. [I’m] looking forward to the challenge.”

Tatis was suspended on August 12, 2022 after his blood tested positive for a synthetic form of testosterone called Clostebol, which he said entered his system from an anti-fungal cream he used to ward off ringworm. Anti-fungal agents can, in fact, upset testosterone levels in humans. So as the Padres’ hometown paper the San Diego Tribune observed, Tatis’s explanation is plausible.

The Astros weren’t the only team to use technological devices to steal signs from players they competed against, but that hasn’t stopped MLB fans across the country from mercilessly booing them, going on years since their sign-stealing scandal. More relevantly, Alex Rodriguez became persona non grata across MLB after his PED suspension. But, hey, even that guy got a second — or arguably third — chance. He became what The New York Times has called a “respected baseball broadcaster.” He’s amazingly so appreciated on TV that he even got to criticize the Astros for their lack of remorse in the wake of their major snafu, so perhaps Tatis just needs to weather this storm, keep his head down and play. That doesn’t sound like his style, exactly, but maybe one day he’ll recoup his license to talk trash — and dish it back out toward some ill-behaving pitchers, of which there are plenty.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!