Yasiel Puig doesn’t resemble the lames in Major League Baseball that haphazardly describe him as arrogant and refer to his actions as stupid just because his raw baseball skill-set allows for a physicality that polished veterans are more willing to avoid.
Puig is getting hit with this superiority logic that says, because he’s 22-years-old, he hasn’t earned the right to challenge the game’s conventional wisdom or demand, what they deem, instant respect. Rather he has to "wait his turn." Whatever. Frankly, it’s been a refreshing six weeks watching a kid dominae a baseball conversation that doesn’t revolve around steroids.
So far, Puig doesn’t fit the positive spin that Major League Baseball wants to put on everything that’s well enough left alone. While it would make a lot more sense to embrace everything about Puig — from his improbable story of trying to defect from his native Cuba, to becoming the most compelling player in baseball over a month’s time — the baseball community has made the decision to go out of its way to vilify him.
First it was Jonathan Papelbon saying Puig going to the All-Star game would be a “joke” to the Braves’ very public and pitiful campaign against him making the All-Star squad, to Diamondbacks players taking their shots.
Baseball is still an incredible game, which won’t change. If you’re fascinated by the game, background noise is going to be just that. But the league is a social yawner.
More than just the media, casual sports fans are looking for stories to latch on to, something that makes the game interesting when they just don’t get why that 6-4-3 triple play had everybody so pumped.
Baseball also needs a guy that’s willing to go against the grain, willing to take arrogance as a badge of honor and where that ego on his sleeve.
Don’t we have enough of these humble, egoless stars that bore the hell out of everyone?
Not to knock the steez. Get it how you live. Just let us enjoy Puig in the process.
Here’s a clip from this fantastic story written to put Puig’s ascension in perspective by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan:
If it seems as though Puig materialized from nowhere and became one of the biggest things in baseball overnight, it's because he did. The first 21 years of his life remain almost a complete secret. Part of Puig's intrigue stems from that mystery. Baseball demigods don’t just appear out of nowhere. Even Cubans who defect arrive with some sort of a backstory. Puig is an anomaly: a burgeoning legend without a past.
In other words, you don’t know him like that. You don’t know why his attitude is the way it is, and what all baseball allows him to channel. All you really know is that Puig is the only national baseball conversation worth considering besides Biogenesis and whatever’s happening with the Yankees.
And that’s not because the game of baseball is boring, rather because the personality baseball takes on makes for a painfully dull period between the end of the NBA playoffs and the start of football season.
To take one from an even more polarizing figure who made his mark from day one, “Please, I beg you, give me a break! Just let (Puig) be great!”