Savvy San Diego Pilot Praises Padres Players Who Rescued Fans At Nationals Park

Padres manager Jayce Tingler removes starting pitcher Joe Musgrove.Ryan Casey Aquinaldo, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0

By Dan Schlossberg

Jayce Tingler doesn’t get much publicity outside San Diego. In fact, most baseball fans probably couldn’t identify him as manager of the Padres.

But he secured well-deserved headlines last Sunday for praising his players in time of crisis.

In an era when most ballplayers prefer to keep fans at arm’s length – or further – three Padres stars rode to the rescue on the road after a shooting near Nationals Park during the sixth inning of a Saturday night game between the Pads and Nationals.

Manny Machado, Will Myers, and Fernando Tatis, Jr. made new fans out of Washington loyalists by opening a gate that had been closed by police and ushering fans into their dugout for safety.

At least four people were shot during an apparent drive-by shooting outside the stadium but the gunfire could be heard over the roar of the crowd.

According to the 40-year-old manager, the response of his stars was nothing short of heroic.

“I couldn’t be any more proud to be a Padre, to be with the men in there,” Tingler said during a news conference Sunday. “Obviously they’re going out and they’re thinking of their loved ones and they’re getting their families.”

Tingler said players not only protected family members but strangers, guiding people into the dugout as chaos erupted.

“Seeing fans and seeing people in panic they just, they did the right thing,” he recalled. “I couldn’t be any more proud to have those players be a part of our team.”

Tingler praised his players for guiding fans to safety without hesitation during Saturday's incident. The Nationals had relayed a few messages to the fans in attendance, telling them to exit the stadium through the outfield. Police apparently closed gates from the stands to the field but a female fan said Padres players opened the gate next to their dugout so that fans could take cover.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, it was uncertain whether the gunfire was inside or outside the ballpark.

Tatis tweeted early Sunday morning that he hoped everyone was safe. The All-Star shortstop also expressed his appreciation for law enforcement officials.

The police presence around Nationals Park was expanded for Sunday’s games – the completion of the suspended Saturday night game and the regularly-scheduled Sunday afternoon game.

Tingler, in his second season as San Diego manager, has the team in contention for the National League West division title after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the expanded playoffs of the virus-shortened 2020 season. The former University of Missouri star never played in the majors.

HERE’S THE PITCH weekend editor Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ also writes baseball for, Latino Sports, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Ball Nine, and Sports Collectors Digest, among others. The author of 38 books, he also makes speaking appearances to talk baseball. Contact him at

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