Just as in any professional sport, MLB has its characters. Every team in the big leagues has at least one character on its ball club.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are no exception. The Dodgers have some guys on the team who have talent and a cocky attitude to go with it. There is no bigger example of this than their current right fielder Yasiel Puig, who burst onto the scene in June and immediately thrust into the spotlight because of his incredible natural ability.
He’s got the swing, the arm, the speed, a decent amount of power — he has all the tools. In just 104 games for the Dodgers this season, the rookie batted .319 with 19 homers, 42 RBIs and a .391 on-base percentage. pretty good numbers for his first taste of big league baseball.
With the good also comes the bad. Puig has shown no interest in playing on some nights — not hustling, consistently dogging plays in the outfield and just continually not busting it out of the box. During the regular season, that wouldn’t bother people too much. Come playoff time, however, its a different story.
Just in case you haven’t heard about it, with a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning — and a run already in for L.A. — Puig drilled a 2-1 pitch into right field. Thinking he hit a home run, Puig admired his shot, flipped his bat and lifted both his arms up in celebration, slowly walking toward first base.
One problem … the ball didn’t leave the park. It hit the wall and stayed in the yard, allowing Puig to finish the play with a triple. Upon reaching third base, Puig kissed the sky and rejoiced vivaciously.
That I do have a problem with. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a guy celebrating a big hit in a big game. It shows me that he has passion for what he does, he is excited about getting a big hit. Puig took it too far and what he did came off to me as showboating. I understand why he has a tendency to be a little cocky — he’s a good ball player. There have been times where I feel his antics are way over the top.
Puig has a ton of talent, which is what got him noticed when he first came up with the Dodgers. After a while, Puig started to believe his own hype, thus taking some of his antics to another level, one of which goes beyond cocky to overkill.
Puig really needs to get back to what he started doing when he first came up with the Dodgers: stop showing off and just play the game. He has the kind of talent that can make him the face of not only the Dodgers, but of MLB too. Here’s the best thing I wish Puig would learn during the winter to be ready for next season — just play hard and play respectfully, and the rest will take care of itself.