Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado Apologize to Padres Fans for Argument in DugoutSeptember 22, 2021
San Diego Padres stars Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. apologized to fans Tuesday after an outburst in the dugout on Saturday saw the team's top two players involved in a heated exchange.
Tatis told reporters the spat was just "part of what this game brings out" when "good players are trying to win and stuff isn't going their way." Machado said the matter was handled within the team, adding:
"We got Fernando over here that's about to win the MVP, we've got a team that's trying to compete and get to the World Series. We haven't been playing some great baseball so emotions get involved and get the better of us at times and those are situations that we learn as leaders, as a team, as an organization and we just get better from that. ...We got a lot of years here moving forward."
At the end of August, the Padres were the National League darlings that baseball fans couldn't stop watching and were holding onto a wild card spot that could make them the third NL West team to play in October.
Three weeks later, the vibes around Petco Park couldn't be more different.
The Padres are now just three games above .500, four games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final Wild Card and the club fired its farm system director Sam Geaney amid more significant looming changes. That led to manager Jayce Tingler having to answer questions about his own job security Tuesday with the club losing 24 of its last 34 contests.
"I don't believe I've lost the clubhouse," Tingler said. "I believe a lot in our guys. I have from day one. It's a group that, as frustrating as it is to not play to our potential, it's still a group that I love, that I believe in, and has all the things you want as a team."
That the comment was even necessary from the manager of a team that began the season with World Series expectations says plenty. The fact that tensions between Machado and Tatis reached the level they did says even more about why Tingler had to be pressed on it.
As Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted:
"But it occurring, several people in the organization said, is a product of one of the Padres’ most pressing issues: Manager Jayce Tingler does not possess the sway to have quashed a situation that had been brewing for weeks.
"How much of that falls directly on Tingler and how much is due to a distrust between players and the front office is debatable. And it really isn’t important. Regardless, the Padres have some fixing to do."
The Padres could still make the postseason and go on the type of epic run they're built for, making this entire episode moot. That doesn't appear likely, however. And that could mean the end of Tingler's time in San Diego.
After such a stunning collapse late in the season, this may only be the first of a few apologies Padres fans have coming their way.