If you still haven’t heard of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, it won’t be long before you see his name all over everything.
The 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba was called up to the Dodgers on Monday to play his first major league game. In two games, he has five hits including a double, two home runs, and five RBIs. In 40 games in Double-A Chattanooga this year, Puig was batting .313 with 46 hits, 12 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 37 RBIs. He also added in 13 stolen bases and scored 26 runs.
At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Puig is a physical specimen unlike most athletes in any sport. He has incredible speed on the basepaths to go along with an absolute cannon of an arm, which was on display in his first major league game in which his throw from right field doubled up a Padres runner to win the game.
While it is still insanely early in Puig’s career, the hype that will continue to build around him is exactly what the sport of baseball needs, even more than the Dodgers need him.
Baseball is what is; it’s a slow, long and drawn out sporting event. It doesn’t have the action of football, basketball, or hockey. Sometimes games can take up to four hours to be completed, with the scoring possibly ending 1-0.
With the rapid change in American culture over the years, our country’s pastime has taken a back seat to more exciting sports opportunities. The average fan not only lacks the patience to sit and watch an entire baseball game, but the time in their busy lives as well.
To get people interested in baseball, the sport needs that guy that will sell tickets no matter where he travels. It needs that guy that you have to watch, like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, LeBron James, or Sidney Crosby. There will be fans, there will be critics, but everyone will be watching. Puig can be that guy.
As with any rising star, Puig will have his ups and downs. He will go through slumps, just like every hitter in baseball does. There will possibly be a few rough seasons, but the freakish tools are there. He has many things that just cannot be coached.
He already has the mindset and mentality of a big league star, and in his time as a pro, he’s shown he can put up the numbers of a star.
Hopefully, Puig can bring back that long lost interest to Major League Baseball that hasn’t been here since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and help get it out of the dark cloud of performance-enhancing drug scandals.