Last August, as Fernando Tatis Jr. detonated baseballs across the Western United States, his father got on the phone from the Dominican Republic. Fernando Tatis Sr. spoke about his son’s ascent, and he spoke about the long road ahead. As the conversation began to wind down, he was asked if he planned to visit Tatis Jr. in the near future.
“It depends what I see,” Tatis Sr. said. “If everything goes the way that I expect it to be, I’m gonna stay home.”
He went on to say, “If I have to go over there and talk about hitting and if I see something wrong, I’ll fly over, yeah.”
Several weeks later, with the Padres’ star shortstop mired in the first extended slump of his career, Tatis Sr. landed in San Diego. A discussion ensued. Then, on Sept. 25, Tatis Jr. crushed a 458-foot drive in San Francisco. The next day, he homered again. Stephen Alemais, a close friend and Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer, suggested on Twitter that the timing was not a coincidence. Tatis confirmed Alemais’ observation by retweeting it.
On Friday, the 22nd anniversary of Tatis Sr.’s greatest feat, the stars aligned once more. Tatis Jr., of course, did not hit two grand slams off one pitcher in a single inning at Dodger Stadium; his father owns perhaps the most unbreakable record in baseball. He gladly settled for two solo home runs, two innings apart, both coming against future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. He called home after the game. Tatis Sr. had watched the Padres’ 6-1 victory from the Dominican.