I tend to dog on Dodgers’ star Yasiel Puig quite a bit.
Of course, most of it is because of his off-field antics and his ball playing gaffs. I don’t necessarily dislike him as a person, but I do think his behavior is, for lack of a better term, teenager-ish.
So imagine my surprise when I read his very dark and disturbing story of his defection. I suppose it wasn’t so much surprise as it was humbling sadness for this kid. I won’t go into details about his defection because it is a story that cannot simply be summarized using witty banter and bizarre adjectives. If you get the chance, you ought to read it yourself because it is very sobering. Let’s just say his Cuban defection story has given me some newfound respect for this Tasmanian Devil.
After I read it, I understood more of why he acts the way he does. I get why he has always been so guarded and so mysterious. He clearly has much more on his plate than baseball. His manager Don Mattingly said that he is worried about Puig, especially since he has gotten death threats from the smugglers who got him to the States. Puig even owes these people a significant chunk of his baseball earnings, so that must make those smugglers unhappy.
In addition to worrying about the smugglers, he fathered a child in the off-season. He has had multiple run-ins with the law. This kid has issues, but some of them can probably be explained by the trauma he must have dealt with trying to get to the USA. His on-field antics cannot be explained by this, which is why he needs to work extra-hard on getting better. He needs to focus and channel his energy in a more positive way. He needs to learn the ins and outs of the game and be more respectful of the game and its former players.
Listen, there is no denying this kid is good and baseball is better having him there. All I ask of him is that he work on being a more respectful person and to fix his unnecessary errors on the field. I have no doubts that he is a good man with a good heart. Hearing what he had to go through made me respect him more as a person. If he can get better on the field and work on his uber-polorizing personality, he might have a shot into my good graces.
Here is a link to his full story. I highly recommend you read it, especially if you want to lose some faith in humanity: