Fernando Tatis Jr..jpeg

Former St. Louis Cardinal Fernando Tatis Sr. is the only Major League player to hit two grand slams in the same inning. He accomplished the feat against the host Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23, 1999 and both came off pitcher Chan Ho Park. That makes it a record that will most likely never be broken.

His son, Fernando Tatis Jr., hit the first grand slam of his career on Monday night, propelling him past L.A. Angels outfielder Mike Trout for the lead in MLB home runs with 11.

He is off to the best start through 100 games in Padres’ history, landing first in home runs (30), slugging percentage (.625) and OPS (1.010). He is second in hits (127), batting average (.320) and RBI (71).

It’s an amazing start – and Tatis Jr. could be doing this for the St, Louis Cardinals.

Tatis Sr. recently told Hector Gomez of the Chicago White Sox in a Zoom interview that his son had numerous workouts with the Cardinals.

“(Tatis Jr.) was shown in 19 tryouts with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The tools, the skills, everything was there. Many times, I asked myself why they didn't sign him,” Tatis said.

The White Sox signed Tatis Jr. after the Cardinals passed on him. Desperate for pitching, the White Sox traded him to the Padres for James Shields. This is being called “the worst trade” in that team’s history.

MSN Sports Fansided columnist Mike Luciano wrote, “St. Louis has to be livid with the fact their inaction cost them a shot at Tatis. It's hard to spot future MLB talent at any age, and it's even harder to scout teenagers. However, the fact that the Cardinals barely gave Tatis the time of day will come back to haunt them if Tatis continues to evolve into a superstar.”

His teammate, Eric Hosmer, told ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “He's 21 years old. And there's no question, he's the face of this franchise. And I think he's gonna be the face of this game very, very soon."

A native of the Dominican Republic like his father, Tatis Jr. told Passan there is only one thing wrong so far in his career.

“I get homesick," he said. “Missing my culture, missing being out here, missing being around my family and just missing being home. ... It's a blessing to be Dominican. That's how people see it and say it out here. I love my country, especially our culture -- how we dance, how we enjoy music, how we enjoy being outside, having a good time. For us, it's different."

Tatis Jr. was born in 1999, the season his father hit 34 home runs for the Cardinals, including that pair of grand slams against the Dodgers. Tatis Sr. was raised in poverty and quit school to pursue a baseball career. Tatis Sr. refused to let his son quit school and made him learn English in preparation for his future, hopefully, as a Major League player.

Tatis Sr. then watched his former team repeatedly pass on his son’s talent. It has turned out well for both father and son.

"Only God can stop him," Tatis Sr. told Passan.

“He got all the skill. He got the determination in the game. Every time he's hitting the field, he only have one [thought] in his mind: winning the game. You cannot blink your eye on him, because he's going to challenge you. He's going to get you."

It’s too bad the Cardinals didn’t get him.

Jones talks, says nothing 

The NFL (and political) world had been awaiting word from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the possibility that some of his players will kneel during the national anthem in support of Black Lives Matter and ending racism in America.

In 2017, Jones demanded his players stand for the anthem with “toe on the line.” Anyone who protested during the anthem would be benched and/or released from the team.

He spoke last week on the subject – and really didn’t say much of anything.

''That was then ... this is now,'' Jones said last Wednesday.

''These are very sensitive times. I have nothing to prove as far as where I'm standing with the flag and where the Cowboys stand. I have nothing to prove regarding my players and my support of our players.

''I want our players to understand the perception and where they're coming from regarding the flag and the sensitivity there, and the many memories there. And I want our fans to understand ... where our players are coming from there.''

He used the word “grace” several times when discussing the situation, but did not say what he will do if a Cowboy dares kneel or raise a fist during the anthem.

I guess we will find out on Sunday night (August 13) when the Cowboys help open SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against the host Rams in a nationally televised game on NBC.

The Wright stuff 

The fact that Kamala Harris is the first woman of color nominated for vice president of the United States is historic.

The fact that Jason Wright was named president of the NFL’s Washington Football Team, becoming the first black person to hold that position for any franchise, is pathetic.

I’m not hating on Wright. It’s just pitiful that a league that celebrated its 100th season last year is just now getting to this point in its history. If that ain’t systemic racism, what is?

Wright is a former NFL running back who played for several teams during his career. After football, he earned his MBA at the University of Chicago and began working with the prominent consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

According to owner Daniel Snyder and the franchise, Wright will navigate operations, finance, sales and marketing.

He comes to a team that is being internally investigated for its toxic, sexist culture. The franchise has dropped the racist Redskins title and will change its name in the coming year. Several of Snyder’s co-owners reportedly want him out as majority owner and are threatening to sell their shares in the team.

Wright is inheriting a hot mess.

Let’s be clear. I’m not a savior. Neither is Coach Ron Rivera,” he told the Washington Post.

“There’s no silver bullet for turning around an organization. Hopefully, having not grown up in [Washington’s] front office allows me to bring some catalytic thinking. It’s the same reason organizations bring in people externally — to push the thinking, to have new, creative ways of thinking about things, maybe be a bit disruptive.”

Wright did not shy away from the word “inclusion” during his initial interviews and explained why it makes business sense.

“When you have women, minorities, different backgrounds, different disciplines, different educational backgrounds weighing in on decisions that are meaningful for the club … the data says we actually get better outcomes, you make better decisions,” he said. 

At 38, Wright is now the youngest president of a franchise in the NFL and he will also be point man on the future effort to build a new stadium for the franchise.

Good luck, dude. You’re going to need some of it to get Snyder’s dumpster fire extinguished. 

A very odds time 

The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorite to win the NBA Finals, according to Caesar’s Casino and Sportsbook. Jayson Tatum and his Boston Celtics aren’t far behind.

Los Angeles Lakers: +200 (Bet $100 to win $200); Milwaukee Bucks: +300; Los Angeles Clippers: +300; Boston Celtics: +1100; Toronto Raptors: +1100; Houston Rockets: +1200; Denver Nuggets: +2000; Portland Trail Blazers: +3000; Miami Heat: +3500; Oklahoma City Thunder: +3500’

I might take a shot on the Rockets, depending on Russell Westbrook’s health. 

The Reid Roundup 

Willie McGee, a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals who remains a fan favorite from his All-Star days as a Redbird, has opted out for the remainder of the 2020 season citing his COVID concerns.

The MLS St. Louis expansion team name, St. Louis City FC, has grown on me since I first heard it least week. I still think the team logo is too busy.

Missouri will open its 2020 football season on Sept. 26 when No. 1 Alabama comes to Columbia.

First-year Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz was reportedly one of the coaches that showed some fire during a SEC conference call because they feel its 2020 schedule coddles powerhouse teams including Alabama and LSU.

The Kansas City Chiefs plan to have up to 17,000 fans in Arrowhead Stadium for the season opening NFL game against the Houston Texans on Thursday night, Sept. 10.

The Texans announced that it will host no fans in 2020 – a day after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects some fans to attend games at AT&T Stadium.

After one week of classes in person, positive COVID tests have forced the University of North Carolina to switch to online learning. Yet, all fall sports will continue.

Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.

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