There's a fine line between expressing concern and moralizing, and I'm not sure if Bill Plashke's crossed it. Probably, though:
The richest team in baseball cannot buy the safety, security or even the simple undivided attention of its most popular player.
Yasiel Puig continues to careen toward calamity and there doesn't seem to be anything anybody can, or will, do about it.
For the second time this year, Puig has been charged with reckless driving, after his arrest Saturday on an Everglades-choked stretch of South Florida highway known as Alligator Alley. Puig was allegedly traveling 110 mph in a 70-mph zone, a startling pace even on a flat stretch of road built for speed.
Puig has now been clocked at least 40 mph over the speed limit twice this year. He was allegedly going 97 mph in a 50-mph zone in Chattanooga, Tenn., in April, resulting in charges that were eventually dismissed when he agreed to perform community service. The arrests fit into a pattern of reckless living exhibited by the 23-year-old outfielder — both on the field and off — since he defected from Cuba and signed a $42-million contract two summers ago.
"He plays hard, he eats hard, he drives hard, he does everything hard," said Tim Bravo, a high school teacher who was employed by the Dodgers last summer to serve as Puig's full-time companion and mentor.
Colletti said he wasn't inclined to give Puig another babysitter, saying, "At some point, everyone is responsible for their own actions. He's not some 16-year-old kid, we can't have someone on his arm all the time. It's up to him to figure it out like we all have to figure it out."
So breaths will remain held, the Dodgers silently rooting that in the 110-mph race of his life, Yasiel Puig will grow up before he blows up.
Isn't that basically the same hope we have for every idiotic young man in this country? Which is to say, most young men in this country? When I was a teenager, I did all sorts of ridiculously dangerous and stupid things. Most memorably, I shimmied up the support rods of a water tower in Lawrence, Kansas. Around the same time, I pushed my Kawasaki past 120 miles per hour on a nice straight stretch of road between Lawrence and a little town called Eudora.
I didn't have a particular craving for speed or danger. I just figured I was going to live forever. I got over it. Most of us get over it before anybody gets hurt.
Yasiel Puig will probably get over it, too. Before he blows up. If Babe Ruth could learn to control his more reckless impulses, anyone can. And let us not fool ourselves into thinking Yasiel Puig is alone. At this very moment, some other millionaire athlete is driving way too fast. You just hope he didn't drink a case of beer before he got behind the wheel.
But the Dodgers had to know what they were getting for their $42 million. What does Vin Scully call Puig? The Wild Horse? You give a wild horse $42 million, what do you think he's going to do? Spend his winters sipping skinny vanilla soy lattés and reading Proust?
These days, $42 million isn't even a whole lotta money. Especially for the richest team in baseball. Then again, the cost of a babysitter would really not be a whole lotta money. Last I heard, Jose Canseco was looking for work...