The documentary will premiere on MLB Network Wednesday, July 14, at 8 p.m. ET gets its message across quickly. Tatis Jr. is quickly becoming the face and face of baseball, and is poised to remain that way for a long time.
The opening scenes feature Tatis, Jr., posing on the cover of MLB The Show. He is the youngest ever to receive that honor. Then, Pedro Martinez and Alex Rodriguez lavish praise him. Rodriguez immediately compares Tatis, Jr. with Ken Griffey in the film's opening minutes. He says that Tatis, Jr., is baseball's current Michael Jordan.
The film ends with his father's grand slams in third inning at Dodger Stadium, April 23, 1999, and Tatis, Jr.'s home runs against Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium, April 23, this year. Both Tatises wear the number 23 uniform, but not to honor Michael but to honour their hometown of San Pedro de Macoris. 23 is the number in Dominican Republic for San Pedro de Macoris.
The documentary is filled with clips that show Dad's influence, including his son playing at major league ballparks as an infant, Tatis, Sr. managing his son in 2018 Dominican Winter League, and his son making a small adjustment to his swing in the early 2021 season.
"El Nino" focuses on the current transition in baseball, which means that we have to abandon some of the old rules. Tatis, Jr. is both a lightning rod (his August 2020 grand slam, a 3-0 pitch against the Rangers), and a marker. He is unapologetic about his sport and plays in a manner that points to baseball's future.
"El Nino," also shows how Tatis, Jr. was embraced in San Diego. A huge Tatis, Jr. mural is found in Ocean Beach, a neighborhood that prides itself as being countercultural. The documentary doesn't hide the fact that Tatis Jr. still has a lot of promise. Tatis, Jr. is still young and has very limited experience in major leagues. He also struggles with injuries like a shoulder injury and a Covid-19 diagnosis in the early part of this season. Even though Tatis Jr. is only a short-term pro, there are many highlights. "El Nino," however, does a great job of reminding Tatis Jr. that the greatest achievements lie ahead in things like the World Series championships for Padres.
Tatis, Jr.'s marketability is evident throughout the film. Alex Rodriguez said that if he was Major League Baseball, he would not hesitate to invest as much capital to market the young man. And it seems to be happening. The video game cover is shown above, as well as a Gatorade endorsement, to accompany the $14-year, $330 Million contract Tatis, Jr. signed in February with the Padres.
This is a fulfillment of a promise Tatis Jr. made his father in 2015 when he signed with the Chicago White Sox at a lower price than they had originally hoped. Tatis, Jr. promised his father that he would get the money. Six years later, Tatis, Jr. fulfilled his promise.
Near the end, Padres TV's color commentator Mark Grant reintroduces viewers to the central theme: "He is becoming the face" of baseball. As the sport struggles with its past and how it was played, the documentary shows respect for both and leans in to the direction that guys like Tatis Jr. are taking the game. Tatis, Jr. is dynamic, young and appeals to the younger fan base Major League Baseball is smartly trying to court.
Tatis, Jr. is an exceptional story because he has been able to earn such praise so young and early in his career. They effectively capture the drama of Tatis, Jr.'s baseball career and his potential accomplishments without resorting to overdramatic cheesiness.