How hard should players try during blowouts?

June 29th, 2022

Sometimes trying too hard can get you in trouble in baseball. Just ask Fernando Tatis Jr., who, in 2020, broke an “unwritten rule” by swinging at a 3-0 pitch and hitting a grand slam -- his second home run of the game -- while up seven runs against the Rangers. Tatis Jr.’s bomb irked his opponents and even drew ire from his manager at the time.

Should Tatis Jr. have swung? Former All-Stars Jimmy Rollins and Ron Darling discussed the topic of Tatis Jr.’s grand slam and how to treat blowouts in the latest edition of the Unwritten podcast.

“As a hitter, it is not my fault that the pitcher threw three balls,” Rollins said of whether hitters should swing 3-0 in a game that’s gotten out of hand. “I worked to be in this situation. If you don’t want that guy swinging 3-0, don’t get to 3-0.”

Don’t fall so far behind in the first place was Darling’s take on the situation.

“I think we should allow our best players to be their best,” Darling said. “When you are getting your [expletive] handed to you, I was always told to be better, because if not, you’re going to be embarrassed.”

Rollins later went even further, saying that teams that take their foot off the brakes may be even more disrespectful than those who run up the score.

“You want the best from the other side,” Rollins said. “I would never, and I don't think anyone in any sport, expect my opponent to not be at their best. If you get there and they fall flat on their face, then so be it. I never liked when teams came off the gas because it's almost like, ‘Well, you guys don't deserve to be here’ or ‘You're not on our level.’"

Tune in every Wednesday as Rollins and Darling talk about baseball’s unwritten rules. Listen and subscribe now on Audacy, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.