The All-Star Game is a date circled on the calendar of each baseball fan. It’s a time when all the stars, current and rising, can show off their skills on one field together.
Well, almost all of the stars.
To this point, San Diego Padres’ outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. has not been invited to Seattle for the All-Star festivities.
He did not reach the required number of votes from fans to be selected and was not selected as a reserve, which is done by player vote and from the commissioner’s office. This means that Tatis, one of the clear superstars of this sport, was specifically excluded by fellow players and MLB officials. He also seems like a prime candidate for the Home Run Derby but received no such invitation.
Yes, it is due to his PED suspension that he completed just earlier this season. It appears that the league, and its players, felt he needed to sit this one out, despite having served his time.
The message is clear- if you get suspended for violating the Performance Enhancing Drugs policy, you will sit out an All-Star Game, even if you have been fully penitent and have completed the suspension. That can be the only explanation because if you look at his numbers, there is no possible way he is not an All-Star.
Despite missing the first 20 games, he is fifth in the league in bWAR, eighth in slugging, ninth in fWAR, 12th in OPS+, and 13th in OPS. Oh, and he’s playing Gold Glove defense at a brand new position, ranking second among all outfielders and tops in the NL, with 14 Defensive Runs Saved.
MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr. is the only NL outfielder outpacing Tatis in most categories.
Quite simply, Tatis is putting together a season that, if he remains on this track, should earn him at least a few MVP votes. However, it appears, out of principle, he will be excluded from the midsummer festivities in Seattle next week.
Is that fair?
Maybe. This was a player vote, mostly. There was no report saying Tatis was ineligible for the All-Star Game. Democracy from his peers seems to have dictated the result.
However, one of his star teammates, Manny Machado, has his back.
"It's some BS that he's not there, but we all know that there's politics in this. It's not the right thing to do."
Here's what Manny Machado had to say about Fernando Tatis Jr. being left off the National League All-Star team. pic.twitter.com/4vVZh1s7wJ
— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) July 4, 2023
Fair or not, Tatis is still taking his lumps. To his credit, he has taken it all in stride, especially when dealing with opposing fans.
This is just yet another lesson from the School of Hard Knocks he must take. However, he should graduate from that school very soon. He has done nothing but be an upstanding citizen and catalyst for a team desperately trying to stay on track.
Tatis is still very much a superstar. Unfortunately, it appears he is being deliberately sidelined for this upcoming Midsummer Classic.
He is plenty young to garner more in the future as time, as well as his stellar play, continue to mend the damage done over the last calendar year.
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.