SAN DIEGO — The Padres have their best record at this point of the season in nearly a decade.
New players and young players have infused the team with not only talent, but also fun — and they have no problem showing off both. History claims high-fives originated on the baseball diamond, but it seems the Padres have taken their handy work to the next level.
“We just brought a little bit of flavor to it and trying to have a little bit more fun,” shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr said.
That starts with third baseman Manny Machado, who says the handshakes, which took off after his arrival in February, represent a bond — inside jokes between teammates to help break up a long season.
“It’s just a matter of enjoying ourselves,” said Machado. “We’re out there having fun, we’re bonding with each other and that’s what it reflects on. We’re out there playing baseball, playing the game we love and winning games at the same time. If you can’t celebrate then why play this game? It’s always about having fun.”
“I think everybody is just so excited for each other when guys do well, and I think that’s what the handshakes show,” said catcher Austin Hedges. “It’s not about you. When Totty, or Manny or Franmil hit a homer, do something big, they’ve got all the handshakes cause everybody is just pumped that they did well, because not only are they great baseball players, they’re great teammates.”
Memorizing all those different combinations doesn’t seem to pose a problem for most.
“Everyone has their own sense of handshake with each other, and once you see them in the face, look them in the eyes, you already know what the handshake is because it’s something between you two,” said Machado.
“I don’t know, it just comes up,” said Tatis Jr. “It just comes up and we start doing things, we add something, add, add, and add and there it is.”
It makes for a fun team, full of promise and confidence, and sure fun to watch.