‘Slam Diego’ Is Just Getting Started

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“Slam Diego” is proudly making a return for fans of the San Diego Padres. A four-pitch walk to Juan Soto, a catalyst. Manny Machado follows with a double. Josh Bell draws a full-count walk to load the bases. From there, fans were on their feet, begging to celebrate their newfound tradition – “Slam Diego.”

The household name was born in 2020 when the Padres hit a grand slam in four straight games. The historic feat began at Globe Life Park and finished at Petco Park. Since then, every Padres player to hit a grand slam has become known as a member of “Slam Diego.”

Brandon Drury, acquired by the Padres at the trade deadline, joined the “club” during his introduction. After Bell’s walk loaded the bases in his team debut, Jake Cronenworth took first after being hit by a 96 mph sinker, scoring Soto. Drury followed and swung at an 85 mph slider over the outer half of the plate. The rest is history. Drury is the only Padre to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat. Drury’s welcoming party is atop San Diego’s grand slam memories, both iconic and memorable.

‘Slam Diego’ 

Coincidentally, the slam that led to the birth of “Slam Diego” was at the center of controversy. Fernando Tatis, Jr. sent a 3-0 pitch into the seats, leaving the Texas Rangers feeling offended. The next night, Wil Myers hit a grand slam. The third night, at Petco Park against the Rangers, Manny Machado slammed walk-off style. On the fourth night, Eric Hosmer sent a drive over the fence in the right.

 With that hit, the Padres became the first and still the only team to hit grand slams in four straight games. From there, “Slam Diego” morphed into a tradition quickly embraced by fans and players. As for Soto, he joins a very exclusive list of Hall of Famers with most career base on balls before their 24th birthday. 

‘A Relief Pitcher Hit One … Against Who?!”

The list includes one unlikely hero – Daniel Camarena. The left-handed relief pitcher scored his first big league hit in 2021. It left the yard, and it led to a comeback win.

With his team down 8-2 in the fourth inning to the Washington Nationals, Camarena stood at the plate against Max Scherzer. He swung at a low-inside fastball that went the other way. According to historical research, Camarena is the first relief pitcher to hit a grand slam for his first hit since Bill Duggleby of the 1898 Philadelphia Phillies. On top of that, he is the first relief pitcher since Don Robinson of the 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates to hit a grand slam. He is the second Padres reliever to do so since Mike Corkins . To sweeten the story more, Camarena is a San Diego native. Slam Diego includes one of its own.

‘Slam Diego’ Lives On

Drury presumably slides into the designated hitter role, vacated by recently traded Luke Voit. San Diego made a blockbuster trade earlier that day to acquire Bell and Soto from Washington. Voit was part of the package going back to the Nationals.

Drury’s grand slam added him to the “Slam Diego” members list. In a way, it can be seen as foreshadowing. The Padres lineup now includes Bell, Drury, and Soto. Soon, Tatis will rejoin the team and the lineup. Pitch around one player only to find a way to pitch around the next. But are they pitching to Soto or Tatis with runners on base? That’s a dilemma.

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Players Mentioned:

Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, Jake Cronenworth, Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer, Daniel Camarena, Max Scherzer, Bill Duggleby, Don Robinson, Mike Corkins, Luke Voit