“It’s like a first date.”
Fernando Tatis Jr. (24, San Diego Padres) attended the team fan fest on the 5th (Korean time). San Diego fans welcomed Tatis Jr., who appeared at the official event after a long time.
Tatis Jr. is a star player representing San Diego. From 2019, his debut season, he made a soft landing in the big leagues with a batting average of 30% (0.317) and 22 home runs. After the 2020 season, he became a superstar by signing a 14-year, $340 million (approximately 425.3 billion won) contract with the team.
Tatis Jr.’s momentum continued. He recorded career highs in the 2021 season with 42 home runs and a slugging percentage of over 60% (0.607). Although the shortstop, who has a lot of defensive burden, is the main position, he showed off his explosive firepower and attracted attention.
It received a lot of expectations, but last year was a mess itself. Ahead of the season, he had a motorcycle accident and fractured his left wrist, leaving him out for a long time. He also served an 80-game suspension (48 games in 2022 and 32 games in 2023) for taking clostebol, which helped build muscle during his rehabilitation.
Tatis Jr., who was unable to play due to his injury and suspension, had no contact with fans, and he was able to communicate with fans after a long time by attending the fan fest on this day. 메이저놀이터
San Diego fans welcomed Tatis Jr. Many fans were wearing his number 23 jersey. They asked for photos and autographs, and whenever Tatis Jr. moved, he shouted his name and sent messages of support. Tatis Jr. said, “It’s like a first date,” he said, expressing his impressions of meeting his fans.
While Tatis Jr. was gone, San Diego marched high. Last season, he reached the National League Championship Series for the first time in 24 years and is taking a strong step towards winning his first World Series title. He had no choice but to cheer for his colleagues through relay broadcasting at home, and said, “It gave me a lot of motivation. I want to return to the field as soon as possible and prove myself rather than say a lot. Just that alone makes me want to compete,” he said.
Currently, Tatis Jr. is participating in all training, such as hitting, grounding, and receiving fungos for flying balls. When asked, “Which positions do you practice?” he said, “outfield and infield. You have to talk to the manager. I’m open to everything. We’re a great team.”
If Tatis Jr. gets on the right track, San Diego can receive a great boost in lineup composition. Attention is focusing on whether Tatis Jr., who is preparing to return, will be able to revitalize the team.