Cardinals rip of Puig a crying shame
That rabble-rousing Yasiel Puig has done it again. The Los Angeles Dodgers rookie took a big whack at baseball’s sacred code of conduct.
Since the code is unwritten, it’s hard to precisely cite the statute. But it basically says, “After making a great play, participants are not allowed to react like normal human beings.”
The penalty might be a fastball in the ribs. We’ll see about that as the National League Championship Series rolls on. All we know for now is the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball establishment were not pleased with Puig following Game 3 — a Dodgers' 3-0 victory.
He celebrated what he thought was a home run, which was a bad move. Then he celebrated what turned into a triple, which was a good move.
Only that was bad, according the code. As Tom Hanks said in “A League of Their Own,” There’s no celebrating in baseball!
Actually, he said there is no crying. Unless some rookie celebrates after a huge hit. Then you can wail away.
“As a player, I just think he doesn’t know (how to act),” Carlos Beltran told reporters after the game. “He really just doesn’t know.”
It’s baseball that doesn’t quite know how to act. The old sport could use every bit of voltage a guy like Puig generates. And Dodger Stadium was electrified Monday.
There was Puig, who’d struck out seven times in 11 at-bats in the series. That was a big reason the Dodgers had gone 22 innings without a run and were down 2-0 in the series.
They had to win Monday’s game. Puig hit a bomb and 53,940 fans went gonzo. He sprinted into third base, threw his arms skyward, clapped his hands and screamed.
What was he supposed to do, stand there like a man getting a hernia check?
So says the code, that ancient invisible manuscript of baseball do’s and don’ts. It’s mostly don’ts, like don’t steal if your team’s way ahead or behind. Don’t step on the pitcher’s mound.
Don’t tell secrets to Jose Canseco. Don’t gloat over home runs.
The underlying theme: Don’t show up the other team.
Much of the code is called for, and Puig spent the season violating it. He’d swagger, loaf, freelance and miss an occasional curfew. He’d also hit, steal, run and throw like a more refined Bo Jackson. Combined, and it made him one glorious headache for Don Mattingly.
“He’s just so emotional,” Mattingly told reporters. “It’s like he’s playing Little League. He makes you shake your head, but he’s sure is fun to watch.”
The Dodgers manager probably turned away when Puig started pimping his way out of the batter’s box as the ball flew to right field. It would have served Puig right to get thrown out at third base, but he was way too fast for that. So other than putting two runs on the Cardinals in the inning, the only real harm done was to baseball etiquette.
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez doubled before Puig’s at-bat. When he reached second base, Gonzalez also thrust his arms in celebration. Wainwright called the display, “Mickey Mouse.” He inadvertently made a good point.
Isn’t Mickey one of the most popular figures in world history? Walt Disney built an empire off the little rodent. He knew entertainment.
Watching players act like church mice after getting a big hit is not nearly as entertaining as watching Puig. It’s not as if he went T.O. and pulled out a Sharpie to sign third base. If the Cardinals were offended, that should be their problem.
Puig’s reaction was only genuine. It was the only way he knew how to react.
“In Cuba, you always see a lot of emotion on the field,” he said after the game. “Everyone is giving their best. It’s their job to go out there and do the best they can, just like here in the big leagues.”
True, but in the big leagues part of the job is to remain stoic at almost all times. It’s obvious that Young Mr. Puig has a lot to learn about baseball.
It also seems baseball could learn a thing or two from Young Mr. Puig.