A night in the life of Yasiel Puig

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Has it been a few days since the last "Yasiel Puig needs to shape up and fly right, boy, I'll tell you what" column?

How about the last "I am outraged at this jerk who wrote a 'Yasiel Puig needs to shape up and fly right, boy, I'll tell you what'" column?

It's probably been a few days. No one is really sorry about that. Everyone knows that Puig is a Tasmanian Devil careening around the world as the rest of us are trying to putt. It's not a secret.

But if you need an omnibus about why those columns exist, why, let this be the catch-all. And it took only a few innings on Wednesday night to make it happen. Welcome to a night of Yasiel Puig.

Good Puig
In the first inning on Wednesday, Puig doubled down the left-field line:


The pitch looks like it's over the middle of the plate from that angle, but that's because Puig stands in the dugout. It was on the inner half, but Puig turned on it like it was right down the middle of the plate. Which it was. If you're using the imaginary plate that Puig uses when he sets up.

Bad Puig
Exactly one pitch later:


This isn't the picking-dandelion type of Puig baserunning blunder. This was an error of aggression. Puig was bounding off second, waiting for something/anything that would allow him to bound into third. He was too aggressive, he slipped, and the Dodgers had to settle for .4 seconds of a runner in scoring position to lead off the game.

Bad Puig
One half-inning later:


I wasn't watching this play live. Someone described it to me. It sounded like a minor whoopsie, no big deal.

Nope. It's glorious. Absolutely glorious. When have you ever seen a player not come in on a ball like that? I watched Barry Bonds … uh, let's see, "conserve energy" … for 15 seasons with the Giants. I don't remember him doing anything close to that. If Puig were sitting in a lawn chair, that play would have made more sense.

"Hey, why's he got a lawn chair out there?", you would ask.

"Good question, and we'll look into it!", I would respond.

Yet that exchange would still have made more sense than what actually happened. The best part is that Adam Eaton outpuigs Puig at his own puiging. It's Puig who's constantly running around he gets bonuses based on his kinetic energy. It's Puig who makes the other team feel silly for dropping their guard. How Adam Eaton didn't stick his tongue out at Puig after getting to second, I'll never know.

Good Puig
Does he even get all of this?


I don't think he does. It doesn't have that "sound," either. It went 442 feet over a 25-foot-wall.

And there you go. An evening with Yasiel Puig, for better or worse or much worse or much better. He is not dull.

At this point, you have to treat everything silly that Puig does as if it's a missing baseball skill. As in, pretend it's similar to Joey Votto's speed. No one stomps around all pissed off that Joey Votto is slow. It's a small part of Votto's game, and not nearly the most important one. If you're stomping around, upset about Votto's speed, you're missing the point of Joey Votto.

The analogy breaks down when you consider that Votto is slow because of his lack of natural running ability, and Puig is occasionally infuriating because he's cocky and extremely green. The first one is the way it is, and the second one seems like something a player can change whenever he wants. Fair enough. And no one will disagree with the idea that Puig would be better if he dialed it back at times.

I hope he doesn't, though. This is fun. He's going to end up in the fountain at Kaufmann Stadium one of these days, possibly during a Dodgers home game against the Padres. If you haven't been following Yasiel Puig, all you needed were four innings on Wednesday to catch up.

For more on the Dodgers, please visit True Blue LA


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