Lessons In Enjoying Baseball
“Yasiel Puig is a hotshot, showboat, blowhard whose ‘swagger’ is ruining baseball. He needs to be taught a lesson.”- Baseball.
On Tuesday this week, Dodger outfielder and rookie phenom Yasiel Puig was benched for being late to the game against the Miami Marlins. He later entered the game and hit a go-ahead home run that led the Dodgers to victory. This has prompted many words from people worried that Puig’s behavior will derail the team. The concern is that his flamboyant style will prove a distraction for the Dodgers after they have turned a potentially epic failure into one of the greatest runs in MLB history.
I propose we take a moment to really enjoy this baseball season—just sit back and enjoy Yasiel Puig’s overwhelming physical gifts and how it fits into the season. A season that, outside of the comic overreaction to the Biogenesis scandal, is one of the greatest seasons in recent memory. In a season that features the rise of possibly the greatest baseball player we will see for the next fifty years (Mike Trout), the final season of one of the best baseball player have ever seen (Mariano Rivera), and experiments in operating a team like the Yankees circa 2008 (Angels, Dodgers), I think we should find time to simply appreciate the energy Puig provides for both the fans and the team.
All teams in all sports require a Puig-like figure. Someone that believes they could throw a man on a motorcycle out at third. Or is mentally prepared for their inevitable home run into Earth’s atmosphere. The Dodgers could have conceivably made their historic turnaround WITHOUT Puig, but would it have been this much fun? I understand that the Biogenesis situation is casting a cloud over the season. We don’t need to allow the negativity of Alex Rodriguez’s fall from grace and comical legal failures to turn us into curmudgeons. Puig’s career is 70 games old. He is as good for baseball as Mike Trout and Mariano Rivera despite the elaborate stage productions. While not perfect it is important we see the upside and acknowledge that development, both mental and physical, take time. He’s played 70 games. He loves baseball, his teammates enjoy him, and Los Angeles likes him. He’ll round into form. Let’s just give him 100 games before we start to credit him with saving the season or derailing it under the incredible weight of his ‘swagger.’ Maybe even an entire season.