'Rise of El Niño' traces Tatis' path to stardom

MLB Network documentary spotlights MLB's most exciting star

July 15th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Fernando Tatis Jr.'s remarkable journey reached its first All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, that incredible journey got a night all to itself.

"Tatis: The Rise of El Niño" debuted as an MLB Network Presents documentary. Presented by Gatorade, the documentary dives deep into the journey of the Padres' superstar shortstop -- from his upbringing in the Dominican Republic, to his ascent to stardom, to his close relationship with his family.

The film features interviews done over the past year with Tatis and a handful of those who are closest to him -- a contingent that includes his father, Fernando Tatis Sr., and his brother, Elijah, currently a prospect in the White Sox's system. Likewise, it includes Padres third baseman Manny Machado, manager Jayce Tingler and general manager A.J. Preller.

Also offering commentary are several notable baseball figures, including legends Pedro Martinez and Alex Rodriguez, who give glowing reviews of the way Tatis plays -- noting the impact it could have on the sport moving forward.

"Tall, good looking, energetic -- this is a very unique player," Martinez says in the trailer.

Added Rodriguez: "I am a ginormous fan of what he's doing, and I could not be more excited for the game of baseball."

The documentary is slated to air following a flat-out remarkable first half from the Padres shortstop. His 1.020 OPS leads the National League, as do his 28 homers and 20 steals. No player has finished atop his league in both home runs and steals since Chuck Klein in 1932.

As such, it’s easy to see why Tatis becomes only the second active player to be chronicled in the MLB Network Presents series, joining Mike Trout, who was profiled in the 2017 film, "Mike Trout: Millville to MLB."

The Tatis documentary takes a similar tack, exploring Tatis' life through his past, present and (very bright) future.

The film blends footage of Tatis' childhood and his life growing up in San Pedro de Macorís alongside footage of his professional exploits. It delves into key turning points in his career, notably his trade from the White Sox to the Padres in 2016 and the 14-year contract extension he would sign five years later.

But the documentary dives deeper than merely Tatis' biggest moments. It takes a look at Tatis the person and his remarkably affable and down-to-earth personality.

"He's becoming the face of baseball," said Padres broadcaster Mark Grant, who offered his own thoughts throughout the film. "And I hope it's for a long time."