San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. will no longer ride motorcycles after news of injury
After Fernando Tatis Jr.’s revelation this week that he’s been in motorcycle accidents – yes, accidents, as in plural – his new manager Bob Melvin wasted no time setting the record straight about the San Diego Padres’ wunderkind’s mode of transportation going forward.
According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale and ESPN’s Alden González, Tatis will have to find another way to get around.
This comes after Tatis’ casual comment on Monday when asked about a motorcycle accident he was in back in December.
Presumably, the Padres are not thrilled that Tatis essentially reported to Spring Training with a fractured wrist that likely requires surgery and will sideline him for approximately three months.
And if it had been a normal offseason, Tatis would be in trouble, because injury or not, he violated his contract by riding motorcycles at all. Most athlete contracts, especially the most lucrative, have a Hazardous Activities Clause that forbids the athlete from doing exactly that.
However, as Jon Morosi explained on Twitter this week, the lockout created an unusual situation with regards to Tatis’ offseason activities and potential contract violations:
The history of the Hazardous Activities Clause goes back to the 1967-68 offseason when Boston Red Sox star pitcher Jim Lonborg went skiing during the offseason and tore ligaments in his knee. He required surgery and missed half of the 1968 season, and even when he returned, he was never the same pitcher he’d been before the injury. The situation prompted MLB teams to put a clause in player contracts forbidding them from partaking in any activities that could injure them in ways that would impact their ability to play ball.
Ironically, Boston’s greatest rivals, the Yankees, would later exercise this clause to get out of Aaron Boone’s contract in 2004 when he injured himself playing pickup basketball, sign Alex Rodriguez out from under the Sox’ noses, and then lose to them in the historic 2004 ALCS.
Unsurprisingly, the Padres want to keep Tatis. However, his injury seriously impedes their chances of being a contender in the division for the first few months of the season, as he is by far their most fearsome hitter. He led the team with 42 home runs in 2021; no other Padres hitter cracked 30.
The Padres were reportedly a finalist to sign Nelson Cruz, but he landed with the Washington Nationals, instead. How they’ll substitute for Tatis’ offensive power remains to be seen.