Statue Contract

There’s securing the bag, and now there’s securing the statue.

Jim Rome
February 23, 2021 - 12:43 pm
Fernando Tatis Jr.

USA Today


If we’re going point-counterpoint on the Kevin Mather story, here’s the counterpoint: Fernando Tatis Jr and the San Diego Padres.

For the record, the San Diego Padres did not manipulate the service time of Fernando Tatis Jr. They did not keep him in the minors for longer than he actually deserved just so they could keep him under control at a lower price for longer.

They called him up when he was ready. And he absolutely mashed. They went from being an overlooked team to one of the most exciting teams in baseball. And they got themselves an absolute superstar. Not just a baseball superstar, a sports superstar.

And they just locked him up to a 14-year contract. What kind of contract? A “statue contract.”

San Diego and Tatis could’ve gone in a couple of different directions when it came to a new contract. They could do something short or they could do something longer that might eat up a year or two of his free agency. But As AJ Preller said, "In typical Tati fashion, his only real comment was, 'Why not my whole career?'"

RIGHT? Why not? Why the hell not?

Preller went on: "He wanted to be one of those very unique players that plays his career in one spot. He loves the franchise, he loves the city, he loves his teammates and he talked a lot about really wanting to get on the path of that statue contract."

That statue contract. There’s securing the bag, and now there’s securing the statue.

As Tatis said: "I want the statue on one team. I want to be able to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in San Diego."

Now compare that to Kevin Mather’s Seattle Mariners. After Mather clowned Julio Rodriguez for his English and also declared that he won’t be coming up to the majors anytime soon, do you think Julio Rodriguez is thinking “I want to be able to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in Seattle”?

Hell no. He’s probably thinking, what is the earliest I can get out of this GARBAGE  organization?

Not the Padres and not Tatis. He’s looking for a statue out near Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman and he wants to earn it.

That’s why he’s not committing to a particular statue model just yet. Because there are options – it could be one of him making a play in the field, running the bases, or the iconic bat flip.

"I'm going to put those numbers first and then we can discuss it. I don't know. Maybe we can have three statues in different ways. We will see what happens."

I dig that – do three statues in three different ways. Or one statue that morphs into three different poses. San Diego legends deserve statues.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if you live and work in San Diego for a long time, if you start a career there and build out from there, you deserve a statue.

And I know what you’re thinking – Hey Rome, didn’t you get your break in San Diego?

And I would say, yes I did. Why do you ask?

And then the follow-up question is: Rome, didn’t you work in San Diego for a long time?

I’d say, yes, I did. For years. And had a great time doing it.

And then you’d say: Rome, didn’t you put up numbers in San Diego?

And I’d say, I guess you’re right. I mean, it’s not what I do it for, but yes, numbers were put up in San Diego. Big numbers.

And then some of you are thinking: Rome, instead of talking about a statue for Fernando Tatis Jr, shouldn’t we be talking about a statue for you?

And I would say: whoa – slow down. That’s not what this is about. That’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that if you come to San Diego as a hungry, youngster and you battle and scratch and claw for the city. And you represent the city. And you live in the city. And you love the city. Then you should get a statue and wait –

Whoa, now that you put it that way, yes, as long as that’s the criteria, I’ll take a statue as well, thank you.

It’s not what I do it for, but I’m certainly not going to turn it down. Like Tatis, I’m not sure what pose the statue should be in, but I’ll leave that up to the people. And like Tatis, I’m not ruling out the possibility of three different versions.

Only question now is does my statue go next to Tonh’s or Trev’s. Or in front of the office building that used to house the mighty 690 …or in front of our station in San Diego now, 97.3 the fan. Or in front of the Oakwood apartments in PB where I used to live. Or inside the Rubio’s where I would get my grub on. Oh hell, put my damn statue any damn place you want. Just not under my sink where my hall of fame trophy was getting wrecked by that leaky faucet under my bar.