Dave Roberts has been around the game of baseball for several decades now, but he is not an absolute stickler for the game’s unwritten rules.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers manager addressed the controversy over San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. and his swing on a 3-0 count with a big lead during Monday’s game against the Texas Rangers. Roberts said he came up in an era when “unwritten rules were abided by” but also that the Tatis situation caused him to change his opinion. Roberts reasoned that teams who are behind don’t stop trying to score so teams who are ahead should not do so either, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
“Unwritten rules have changed, should change,” Roberts added.
Tatis, who leads the league in home runs this season, smacked a grand slam in the eighth inning of Monday’s game after swinging away on a 3-0 count with a 10-3 lead over the Rangers. After the game, Rangers manager Chris Woodward expressed his displeasure with Tatis’ actions.
Late rallies happen quite often in baseball, and Tatis’ 3-0 swing was far from as intentionally disrespectful as, say, trying to bunt for a hit with a big lead. Thus, the 21-year-old’s free swing in that situation was very defensible, and Roberts, a member of the older guard, is one who believes so as well.