In April of 1999, Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in one inning. Yes, it really happened. If you were too young to remember it was quite the dang thing, let me tell you. Maybe the dangdest thing about it was that Dodgers manager Davey Johnson just left Chan Ho Park in to wear both of ’em in what was an 11-run inning. And you think your boss hates you.
Flash forward twenty years later and Tatis’ son — Padres rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. — now has some April memories of his own thanks to this first big league homer, hit last night against the Dbacks. It came in the sixth inning off of fellow rookie Merrill Kelly, and just like his dad’s first slam off of Park, it was a no-doubter:
The ball went 395 feet or so into the Western Metal Supply building. As a result, Tatis became the second-youngest Padre to go deep, doing so at 20 years and 89 days. Roberto Alomar was four days younger than Tatis when he hit his first dinger, also in April, in 1988.
Tatis 4-for-18 on the young season, but the future is oh so bright.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.