The Padres and their embattled star Fernando Tatis Jr. spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon at Petco Park.
When the news broke on August 5 that Tatis had tested tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clostebol and would receive an 80-game suspension, the mood around the Padres fanbase resembled something you experience at funerals.
The days since the announcement have been full of finger pointing, speculation, excuses, and skepticism. Most notably, it’s been painful. This one hurt fans and the team to the very core. The five stages of grief were on full display on social media. Frankly, it bruised the entire game of baseball, as one of its prized princes fell from grace.
Finally, on Tuesday, the suspended shortstop addressed the media and opened up about his feelings.
“It was a stupid mistake, it was me being reckless…I’m regretting all of that,” he said.
”I’m truly sorry…I have let so many people down. I have lost so much love from people. I have failed. This is the most terrible time of my life.”
After a trying 2022 thus far, involving his wrist injury and suspension, “I’m learning, I’m maturing.”
Tatis also mentioned he understands the pointed comments made by teammates and hinted he has been as hard, if not harder on himself.
“There’s no other one to blame but myself…I made a mistake.”
“I’m going to remember how this feels, and I’m not going to put myself in this position ever again. I know I have a lot of love I have to gain back. I have a lot of work to do, it’s going to be a very long process.”
— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) August 23, 2022
The general feeling of the press conference was genuine remorse. Along with that, there seems to be this subtle ember that is beginning to burn brighter in regards to his motivation to come back stronger from this. He seems to understand that the road ahead will be a difficult and long one.
A.J. Preller mentioned there have been some hard conversations and “tough love” involving their star, to whom they committed 14 years and $340 million before last season.
What was once an ever-flowing fountain of love, adoration and expectations from fans towards the All-Star is now replaced with angst and disappointment. Yet hope remains.
The best thing for Tatis now is to be out of sight and out of mind. He has gone through the tough process of addressing the media and admitting fault, promising to be a changed man in the future.
In a surprising move, he also announced he will have shoulder surgery. That was a much-maligned topic all of last season as he missed 32 games with multiple stints on the IL, mostly due to a balky shoulder. This is another sign of an attempt at reparations.
Additional news out of today's presser: Tatis will undergo surgery to repair his labrum, which will address his shoulder subluxation issue. Expects to be fully healthy and available when his suspension ends next April/May. Surgery will be "asap" Tatis says.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) August 23, 2022
The saying goes “actions speak louder than words.” He mentioned he will spend “the bulk” of the offseason in San Diego. Typically, he retreats to his native Dominican Republic. This is another sign of a stronger resolve and commitment to making things right. Hopefully, if we do hear at all from Tatis between now and next spring, it is about how he had successful shoulder surgery. That, and perhaps some videos on his Instagram displaying him relentlessly rehabbing said shoulder at the team facility.
Even though it is likely he will once again be adorned by most-but-likely-not-all fans upon his triumphant return, especially if he returns to his other-worldly form, it’s best if we don’t hear from him for a while.
Now, Tatis can go get the surgery, heal up, and lose himself in his rehab. Regardless of whether he is rehabbing or healthy, he is going to be unavailable until sometime in May of next season due to the 80-game ban. He might as well get everything fully healthy and rehab rigorously.
He is eligible to participate in Spring Training, even amid suspension. Between now and February, he can help to repair his image by ceasing to be a distraction, working hard to get healthy, and letting his team attempt a playoff run without him detracting from their goal.
Hopefully, him watching the team go at it without him fuels the fire for an epic return next May. Only time will tell.