Saturday’s game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres was going as smooth as it could be for San Diego.
That is until the game was forced to be suspended in the sixth inning after gunshots were fired outside of the stadium.
At the time, fans ran for exits and then turned around and proceeded to run towards the field.
— Blake_619 (@619WellRep) July 18, 2021
A heroic effort by the Padres in a frightening situation. On Sunday, before the resumption of Saturday’s game, manager Jayce Tingler spoke about the incident and raved about the actions of his players.
An emotional Jayce Tingler, talking about his players after last night's shooting incident: "They thought maybe the dugout could’ve been the safest place, and they led and welcomed and guided people in there. Couldn’t be any more proud to have those players a part of our team."
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) July 18, 2021
The players reacted selflessly and immediately opened the gate, flooding the dugout with fans left and right as they searched for safety. Tingler was in tears during the Zoom call before Sunday’s game and continued saying he couldn’t have been more proud to “be a Padre.”
Among the Padres who raced up the 3B line in an effort to protect families and fans in that section: Tatis, Manny Machado, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, perhaps others.
"I couldn't be any more proud to be a Padre, to be with the men in there," an emotional Jayce Tingler said.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) July 18, 2021
At the time, nobody was sure where the shots came from, and everybody took cover anywhere possible. The fans hurried for the exits before the Nationals announced, telling them to remain inside the ballpark.
The crew chief from Saturday night, Mark Carlson, explained the dramatic events. (h/t Washington Post)
“It was just a chaotic scene,” umpire crew chief Mark Carlson told the Associated Press. “We heard what sounded like rapid gunfire. We didn’t know where it was coming from.”
One of the fans in attendance, Alaina Rodriguez, spoke to the Washington Post about the incident and explained the scene when she saw Tatis Jr. go and grab people to take them into the dugout.
“I grabbed a child in front of me because the lady in front of me didn’t really know what was happening… We were down for a while, and then we saw action going on in center field, and it just kept going around the stadium. Then we see [Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.], and he’s out here, and he tells everybody, ‘Go, just go.’ I don’t know if they have family or what was going on out here, but they told everybody to go.”
Just an unfortunate event to take place anywhere. Eventually, it was reported that the gunshots occurred outside of Nationals Park. The Padres star shortstop went to Twitter and sent out a message to everybody involved in the incident.
Hope everyone is safe! Just keep the prayers up🙏🏾 thank you everyone that help in the front line ! God bless 🙏🏾
— Fernando Tatis Jr. (@tatis_jr) July 18, 2021
A nightmare scenario occurred on Saturday night, and the Padres and Nationals reacted in the best possible way imaginable. Tingler mentioned the nightmare scenario and something nobody has been involved in before in a baseball game.
“It’s a nightmare. It’s the thing maybe you think about in the back of your mind…Then it dawns on you the bullpen guys, the families, it’s a lot.”
It wasn’t just the Padres either. The Nationals escorted fans into the clubhouse area, and Tingler said that the Nationals as an organization responded unbelievably amid such pandemonium and chaos.
“Davey Martinez reached out this morning. And what a class act. The Nationals, from all aspects. I certainly want to thank their security people that are putting their lives on the line.”
Thankfully, nobody was hurt inside the stadium. Somehow, the teams and personnel had to return to Nationals Park no more than 24 hours after the incident to resume play and finish the series.