Before last night’s game I was thinking back to Juan Soto’s first game as a Padre last season. Almost everyone was in their seats a half hour before the game and he got a standing ovation when he came out of the dugout to go warm up in the outfield. I wondered if Fernando Tatis Jr. was going to get the same reception.
The reception ended up coming close to Soto’s. When Tatis ran out to right field, the Friar Faithful definitely got loud and if I wasn’t sitting in right field watching who was running onto the field I would’ve been able to guess who it was. With that said, I wouldn’t say the crowd was as loud for Tatis as they were for Soto.
In fairness, it was two different situations. There was a little more excitement about the Soto debut since it was literally his first game ever for the Padres and everyone was probably shocked that one of the best hitting talents we’ve ever seen would be wearing the brown and gold for the next three pennant races. The Tatis return last night was obviously not his first game in San Diego and fans had already seen him play nine games this year.
It was still a memorable night, though. As the Padres took their positions, the fans in right field essentially all stood up to greet the 24-year-old. He was cheered every time he stepped up to the plate. At one point during the night, I could hear Tatis chants when he was in the box.
The most memorable part of the night came in the eighth inning. Domingo Tapia was on the bump and Henry Ramos pulled a ball to the right-center field gap. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t tell if Tatis or Trent Grisham had a chance at the ball. It didn’t look like Grisham was going to get there so it was going to be up to Tatis and at the last moment he leapt into the air to make the catch. As expected, the fans in right field went nuts.
My view was obstructed of what happened after the catch but I saw on the jumbotron when they showed the replay that he used the wall to stop himself and smiled right in front of a fan who was standing near the wall. There was a woman next to the fan who seemed stunned she was seeing the superstar up close.
The fan reaction from Nando's catch last night was great pic.twitter.com/JHrRvceoSi— Talking Friars (@TalkingFriars) May 2, 2023
When Tatis turned around to go back to the dugout, he had a big smile on his face.
The most important part of the night was the Padres won, which meant it was time to party. Tatis obviously was right in the middle of it. Hopefully there are many more of those to come.
Piñata Party at @PetcoPark pic.twitter.com/sBkSUDih7k— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 2, 2023