Found October 20, 2013 on
Everything is magnified in the playoffs, and you could tell just by the Yasiel Puig criticism. For us Dodger fans, Puig really didn’t do anything all that odd in the postseason, but I had him ranked as a ’10′ twice in the panic ratings for a reason. Puig had a great NLDS, had a great NLCS at home, and had a miserable NLCS on the road. He made great defensive plays, he made dumb fielding plays (no baserunning errors though, weird), and he celebrated a bunch. None of this is new, yet everybody around the nation decided this was BRAND NEW INFORMATION that they had to concern troll over, as if even fans of Puig and the Dodgers didn’t know that he was prone to doing detrimental things from time to time. After the game, Don Mattingly said the work to improve Puig for 2014 begins now. “Sitting there watching it tonight, and it’s what we’ve kind of watched all year long, it’s like you don’t have time to work on it, really,” Mattingly said. “You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know? Yasiel gets excited. He’s going to try to make plays all the time, and that’s the way he is. But we’ve got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it.” On the Internet, the puzzling reaction to this quote from Cardinals & Giants writers/fans was ‘WELL ABOUT TIME’. Puzzling because if you’ve been following the season at all, you’d know it’s been an ongoing effort the whole time. “It’s what we’ve kind of watched all year long.” I mean, it’s right there in the comment. I’ve written about it since June, other Dodger bloggers did so as well, and ESPN wrote an article in August about literally EVERY cut-off man he missed, as well as about his all-or-nothing style of play. Jon Paul Morosi concern trolled in July and then again a month later, yet we’re supposed to pretend that Puig making mistakes is some newfangled breaking story to fans and media? Everybody knows that, and everybody has known that. Puig’s just generally been more valuable to the team than not, so nobody is going to pretend he’s the worst player ever. And fairly or unfairly, the team still rose and fell with his production, even in the NLCS. Some will look at that as an indictment of Puig, a 22-year-old rookie, but it’s far more of an indictment of the rest of the team’s production. —– Back in reality and within the discussion on practical matters, Mattingly’s talking about the future, not the past. Mattingly, much like statements by Skip Schumaker and Michael Young, acknowledges that work is needed but that even though he’s willing to learn, it’s too late to try to teach him everything in the playoffs. “That’s the learning. He has to learn. It’s tough to learn,” said ex-Cardinal Skip Schumaker, now a Dodgers reserve outfielder. Schumaker obviously has been exposed to both clubhouse cultures. “But very rarely do you see him make the same mistake twice. You say, ‘Go in hard on someone and don’t veer off,’ the next time he goes in hard on someone. It’s not frustrating because he does soak it in.” Young is one of many of Puig’s teammates who have tried to explain to him why people react to him the way they react. “And you know what? He’s very receptive,” Young said. “He’s like, ‘OK, OK, I understand. I get it.’ That’s just the way he’s always played baseball. He played it not just in a different country, but almost like a different world. It’s not like he grew up in the Dominican or Puerto Rico. He grew up in a lot different world than any of us.” So one of these days, when he isn’t 22 anymore, and when he has played more baseball in this land, in this world, maybe this won’t be how he goes about it. And maybe then, everyone — not just the occupants of Dodger Stadium — will learn to appreciate the joy and the talent instead of focusing on that other stuff. But that time isn’t this time. So there’s no use in any of us getting any more worked up about this now than we got in June or July or August. All that matters, for Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers, right now is that there’s an NLCS to be won — and it’s now a lot more winnable than it was 24 hours ago. “He’ll learn,” Young said. “But right now, in a postseason series, I want him to play exactly the way he feels most comfortable. The last thing I want him to do is start thinking about peeling back his emotions — in Game 4 of the NLCS.” At the point they were at, it was what it was, for better or worse. Now though, the work can begin, and hopefully he does come back next season with all the celebrating and all the excitement, but just tweaks to the decision-making, the fine print. Puig himself is not unaware of this. When asked what he learned in 2013, he said through an interpreter, “The one thing that stood out was that every run, every at-bat, every play in the field is very important. You have to make sure you do your best each chance you get.” Video Via Tony Jackson —– As far as the celebrations go, Puig got a lot of grief for it, but not once did he ever address a Cardinals player directly. He celebrated a lot … to himself, which is appropriate considering he thinks he’s the best player ever (which I don’t mind). Yet, even when directly taunted by the opposing team, he never responded in kind. Puig’s Tuesday offense was dramatizing a high, inside fourth-inning pitch from Lance Lynn. Some Cardinals lit into him so loudly after Tuesday’s ninth-inning double play that others in uniform called them off the rail. Scully said he was astonished to look toward the St. Louis dugout in Game 5, with Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig about to take his first at-bat. Scully said he saw the entire Cardinals team lined up along the rail, mimicking and exaggerating the gestures Puig had made in the on-deck circle. “It was like a chorus line,” said Scully, a Dodgers broadcaster since 1950. “I had never seen that.” He has fun and dishes it out, but he can take it, so what’s the issue? He’s been booed a lot this year because of the hype surrounding him, and he seems to enjoy it and take that in stride as well, so I don’t see the issue here. Ironically, maybe the opposition can take a page out of their own maturity handbook and practice what they preach if they expect better out of Puig? Nah, like with ‘the right way’ book on celebrations, that would require not having double standards and not being hypocrites. Expecting athletics to involve logic? Good luck with changing that culture. For his part, Vin didn’t seem to care much about the theatrics. “They’re just having fun,” Scully said before Friday’s Game 6 of the National League championship series. “I would hate to see a game where there wasn’t any emotion. I like to see it. I think the fans enjoy it. I would love to see more.” The Cardinals have chirped about the gestures of Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. Scully noted that Hanley Ramirez has made his “I See You” sign after a big hit since he joined the Dodgers last year, without stirring a national debate. “You hit a game-winning home run and the other team says you’re trying to show them up?” Scully said. “God almighty.” So that’s the final word on that. Others can feel free to continue to call those who don’t mind the celebrations ‘enablers‘, just acknowledge Scully is among them. I’m fine with being in his company, personally. —– At the end of the day, there’s still plenty of chapters left for Puig to write. A lot of people really seem to be missing that point, but it doesn’t surprise me given that they’ve also missed out on the ground he’s already covered and the ground he knows himself that he still has to cover.

NLCS umpire crew upset they were shown up by Yasiel Puig

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been a lightning rod since breaking into the league and apparently the NLCS umpire crew didn't take too kindly to his act. Ken Gurnick and Lyle Spencer of have the details: Puig has enraged the crew which believes he is showing up umpires at home plate. It nearly came to a head in Game 5 when Puig was called out on strikes by plate...

Yasiel Puig had an error-filled Game 6 (Video)

Your browser does not support iframes. Few MLB players have been as controversial this season as Yasiel Puig. Some love him for his hustle, speed, power bat and power arm, and overall enthusiasm. Others say he is cocky, immature, celebrates too much, and makes stupid errors in the field or on the bases. I like […]

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez pose with Dumbo and squirrel signs

After St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright made unflattering comments about the Dodgers saying that Adrian Gonzalez was doing “Mickey Mouse stuff” and took exception with the celebration of Yasiel Puig on a triple two batters later. On Friday some fans in St. Louis made some clever signs poking fun at the pair of Dodgers. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez sign Mickey Mouse...

Dodgers acknowledge maturity issues with Yasiel Puig

The Los Angeles Dodgers crashed and burned on Friday night as the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated them from the postseason with a 9-0 drubbing in Game 6 of the NLCS. Less than an hour after the Dodgers' promising season was over manager Don Mattingly had strong words for his right fielder indicating that polarizing figure Yasiel Puig has plenty of growing up to do. "Sitting...

Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig autograph posters that mocked them (Video)

Los Angeles Dodgers stars Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig signing autographs on posters making fun of them prior to Friday night's NLCS Game 6 in St. Louis. The Adrian Gonzalez sign showed him with Mickey Mouse ears on top of Dumbo, with the caption "Dumbo and Dumber". The other sign showed Puig next to the Cardinals "Rally Squirrel" that became famous...

Forget pressure, Dodgers having fun

Backs against the wall? No big deal ... or so it seems from the way the Los Angeles Dodgers are acting heading into Game 6 of the NLCS at St. Louis trailing 3-2. Check out this pregame picture of Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez sign Mickey Mouse and Rally Squirrel posters made by Busch Stadium Sign Guy. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez sign Mickey...

Mets Made The Right Call Passing On Abreu

Several people I spoke with and greatly respect said they were disappointed the Mets didn’t make a run at Cuban free-agent first baseman Jose Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68-million contract with the Chicago White Sox. Considering the success of Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes and the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, all of a sudden tapping the Cuban market is the hot thing. But sometimes...

McNeal: Mickey Mouse ears, really? Cards have more important things to ponder

ST. LOUIS -- Before checking on three things to watch in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, let's weigh in on one thing that hopefully we won't see. That would be making too big a deal of the antics of Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and any Dodgers who choose to express themselves in ways that rankle the purists. If they want to flip their bat, let them. The Dodgers did...

White Sox win Jose Abreu sweepstakes.

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract to acquire Cuban free-agent first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu’s contract will be the largest initial free-agent contract given to an international player. The 26-year old Abreu defected from Cuba this past summer. He is considered somewhat of a risky acquisition as he is relatively unknown despite having a better...

A Minor Review of 2013: Dodgers

There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009. The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013′ will look back on some of the major happenings...

Betting Big on Bats: The Jose Abreu Quandry

According to multiple reports, the White Sox have agreed to terms with free agent first baseman Jose Abreu on a six year, $68 million contract. Abreu, who turns 27 in January, has been a star slugger in Serie Nacional, the premier baseball league in Cuba, and played for the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic this past spring. The $68 million guarantee shows that Major League...

St. Louis Cardinals headed to World Series

getty images The St. Louis Cardinals are headed back to the World Series following a thrashing of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. On Friday night the Cardinals claimed victory in the NLCS with a 9-0 win over the Dodgers. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha continued his strong postseason by going seven innings allowing just two hits and a...

Mets Wise To Pass On Cuban Abreu

Several people I spoke with and greatly respect said they were disappointed the Mets didn’t make a run at Cuban free-agent first baseman Jose Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68-million contract with the Chicago White Sox. Considering the success of Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes and the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, all of a sudden tapping the Cuban market is the hot thing. Teams get burned...
Dodgers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.