Yaisel Puig has certainely made a name for himself since he
made his major league debut on June 3rd. In only 34 games, Puig has
eight homer, 19 RBIs, five stolen bases and is batting .407. In his first 100
at-bats, he had 44 hits, becoming the first player since Joe Dimaggio to
complete this feat. He helped the Dodgers go 13-3 in their last 16 games,
bringing them within 3.5 games of first place in the NL West. Puig is currently
in second in the All-Star Final
Vote, which still gives him a pretty good shot of grabbing that final spot
on the All-Star roster.
However, while Puig may be the breakout athlete of the year, he is certainly
not the breakout sportsman.
Before Monday's game against the Diamondbacks at Chase
Field, Puig was approached by Diamondbacks great Luis Gonzalez. The former
All-Star walked right up to Puig, and began speaking to him in Spanish,
introducing himself and telling Puig how he too has family roots in Cuba. Puig
did not respond to Gonzo. He didn't even look up or acknowledge his presence!
This show of disrespect towards a baseball great like Gonzo was surprising,
because players usually know the different between a rivalry and respect, but
Puig clearly has not been in the league long enough to learn that lesson.
Upon seeing this awkward encounter, Dodgers hitting coach
Mark McGwire, who played on All-Star teams with Gonzalez, quickly approached
Puig. McGwire reprimanded Puig and pointed out to the young star that he was
ignoring a former All-Star, whose number is hanging inside the stadium they
were currently standing in, who had a World Series-winning hit
off Mariano Rivera, and who chased the single season home run record.
McGwire, whose legacy has been tarnished by PED usage, has
had a negative connotation attached to his name. Personally, I have no respect
for McGwire as a player, but I am happy that he noticed Puig's disrespect and
tried to correct it. I now dislike him a little less. As for the players
involved, neither Puig nor Gonzalez has commented on the confrontation.
Puig has a bright future is baseball ahead of him. However,
he's going to need to learn show some respect if he wants other players to
respect him. Another act like this could leave a lsating impression on the rest
of the league.
How do you feel about Puig's actions? Was McGwire right in
reprimanding the youngster? Share your thoughts. Comment below!