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And That Happened: Yasiel Puig’s benching edition

Aug 21, 2013, 6:29 AM EDT

Dodgers right fielder Puig celebrates with teammates as manager Mattingly looks on after Puig hit an eighth inning game-winning home run against the Marlins during their MLB National League baseball game in Miami

Dodgers 6, Marlins 4: Yasiel Puig was benched because of attitude issues and poor play but then was used as a pinch hitter and smacked the go-ahead homer. My thing on the benching itself: it’s Don Mattingly’s team and he knows it best and can do what he wants.

What I really, really dislike, however, is the sentiment from the armchair managers like Plaschke and Morosi and others who called for the benching and then nodded when it happened with their gatekeeping/pledge-hazing sanctimony and their conviction that this young man needs to be a taught a lesson for some reason. Plaschke notes disapprovingly of Puig’s “swagger.” Which is funny, because guys like him are the first to call for the return of “swagger” when a team is playing poorly. Maybe it’s just bad when Puig does it because, well, I guess you’ll have to ask Plaschke.

File this all under “we are fans and observers,” not coaches, and that we should be bummed when a great, exciting talent like Puig is benched for whatever reason. Chiming in with “this is the right thing to do” as if Puig presents some real problem for the team that outweighs the benefits he brings is just distasteful to me. Go raise your own kid.

Sorry, just a tad grumpy this morning. And, for reasons that aren’t terribly important, unable to get to a full-blown And That Happened either. Apologies. Here are the scores. Perhaps I’ll regain my swagger later this morning.

Rockies 5, Phillies 3
Yankees 8, Blue Jays 4; Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2
Diamondbacks 5, Reds 2
Rays 7, Orioles 4
Mets 5, Braves 3
Twins 6, Tigers 3
Nationals 4, Cubs 2
Rangers 4, Astros 2
Brewers 6, Cardinals 3
White Sox 2, Royals 0
Pirates 8, Padres 1
Indians 4, Angels 1
Giants 3, Red Sox 2
Mariners 7, Athletics 4

  1. blacksables - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    There is a difference between having fun and not having respect. Most people can’t tell the difference because they can’t see outside the bubble they’ve built around them.

    I always thought Lastings Milledge got a raw deal. Big deal, he was high-fiving fans in his own park. Who cares? He wasn’t showing anyone up.

    I thought Bryce Harper was an immature kid and would show it, but I’ve been wrong, mostly. He’s been a good major leaguer and hasn’t done anything to deserve the scorn he’s received for on the field issues.

    Puig needs to work on his demeanor a little, but it’s an internal issue, not ours. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, Old Gator made a great point yesterday in one of his comments.

    As Harry Truman once said, ‘It ain’t bragging if you really done it’.

    Truth is, they’re major league players and they’re better than us. Sometimes it’s okay to let us know it.

    Let’s save the real disdain for the guys who really don’t have any respect for the game, not the guys who are enjoying playing it.

    • indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:57 AM

      Well said, blacksables.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM

      Plaschkes point of view depends on what kind of weed he smoked
      before hitting the keyboard.

    • fanofevilempire - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:58 AM

      Plaschkes point of view depends on what kind of weed he smoked
      before hitting the keyboard.

      • hep3 - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        The LA Times once had a great sports page with the likes of Jim Murray and Mel Durslag. Now with guys like T.J. Simers and Plaschke, it is not worth reading. They are a couple of sanctimonious hacks.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        Whatever he had it was better than the crap you get in New Yawk.

    • skeleteeth - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:30 AM

      Well put. I don’t necessarily agree that drawing attention to oneself is the way to go but I’m also completely aware that that has everything to do with me and no one else.

      That said, how the hell do people expect someone who defects from Cuba to come to the US for the sole purpose of playing major league ball while getting paid lots of money to act? Modest? Should they crumble under the pressure and be intimidated by the spotlight? Hell no! Puig is doing exactly what he’s being paid to do all while being merely 23. So what.

      I could deal with less crazy Catholics pointing at the sky and whatnot though. That shit is just corny.

      • deathmonkey41 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        I wouldn’t question Mattingly benching him. Anyone who can sport such an impressive plume of lip foliage like Mattingly did back in the day should never be questioned.

  2. rickyspanish - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    Plaschke is a fuddy duddy. He moralizes and takes the easy stance way too much for my taste. This was a good read Mr. Calcaterra, I like it when writers are honest, especially when Plaschke is caught in the undercarriage of a bus.

  3. indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Since Craig has a case of the Wednesdays (is that a thing?), here’s a quick Rayscentric fangirl Rays-O’s summary, if anyone cares. Probably not. No one in Tampa does. Anyhow, Alex Cobb pitched great again, showing no signs of the concussion. He looks, if anything, well rested for the final stretch of the season. He even struck out Chris Davis which goes a long way towards helping me with my PTCDS ( Post-traumatic Chris Davis Syndrome). The Rays beat the shit out of the ball, 15 hits total. Everybody and their momma got a hit. The O’s made a late comeback attempt which got stifled by the Magic Plantained one. Looks like we’re riding the upswing of that sine curve again. I still prefer the tangent. Poor cosine. No one likes him.

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Dirty Sawks, slimy Devil Rays – Big Unk’s ugly case of Wednesdays.

      • indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        What was that about it being awfully late in the season to be 4 games back? 😉

        Cobb is back. Jennings is back. Moore soon to return, another young, rested, talented arm. The magic carpets are coming for ya, Sawks.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        As I’ve always said – the floating devil carpets can float away with the AL East for all I care. As long as the Red Sox make the playoffs and Yankees do not I will be happy.

      • indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        I want that division title. That one game playoff (play-in, really) scares me. Even the ‘stros or Feesh can win one game.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:33 PM


        That’s all I got for now. Just woo.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        It’s good to have Hellboy and Dr. Faustus to rely upon for some momentum-killing.

      • indaburg - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:08 AM

        Hellboy lacks both mass and velocity, so yeah, he’ll kill momentum for you. Dang him back to Hades. I don’t even want to discuss the Faustian. If it were not for the injuries, off to the bullpen with you. Wherefore art thou Moore?

        When is Bucchhollzz due back?

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Booolpen session for Buchholz tomorrow, spreading beer, peace and chicken grease at single-A Lowell Sunday, back dirtying up major league sawks in the first or second week of September, then he goes on to dominate hitters and Popeye’s chicken joints through to the final game of the World Series, whereupon he will be doused with champagne for his first shower of the year.

      • indaburg - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM


        So THAT’S the plan. The first shower the Sawx collectively take this year is a champagne one. I see. I didn’t know the Sawx were so French.

    • cshearing - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Hey, I like the Cos.

      Mmmmm, pudding pops.

    • lukescottsbedsidemanner - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      What’s a “cosine”? Is it like a “porcine” and can I eat it?

      • indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        Cosine. Like what you do to a loan.

      • lukescottsbedsidemanner - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        Uh…a loan…is that like when I borrow ammo from my brother? I pay him back in pig meat, a’course. I wonder if he’d like some cosine meat?

        Um…wanna loan me your body for a few minutes?

      • indaburg - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        You know, you need to put down a deposit when you take out a loan? I shudder to think what kind of deposit Luke Scott makes.

      • nbjays - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        I bet it isn’t sanitary.

  4. therealtrenches - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Sometimes Craig and I agree. This is one of those times. Well said, Craig.

  5. johnnysoda - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    And That Happened: Tuesday Edition:

    Rockies 5, Phillies 3: All the offense here was in the first three innings, as Jorge De La Rosa shut down the Phillies (6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3BB, 3K) after a shaky third.

    Yankees 8, Blue Jays 4; Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: Doubleheader sweep. In game 1, New York found themselves down 4-0 after three, before getting home runs from Robinson Cano (his 200th) and Chris Stewart. Jayson Nix was the hero in game 2, with a game tying homer in the 7th and a walk-off single in the ninth. The Yankees have won 8 of 10 and are now 5 games out of a wild card playoff spot.

    Diamondbacks 5, Reds 2: Patrick Corbin was very Patrick Corbin-like (9 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 10K) and needed to be- it was 1-0 until Paul Goldschmidt hit a grand slam in the eighth.

    Rays 7, Orioles 4- I was watching the MASN broadcast of this game on MLB, and when Matt Wieters hit a two run homer with no outs in the ninth, the vibe that a big comeback was somehow meant to be was palpable. Kind of funny, to be honest. Fernando Rodney came in to restore order, and now the Rays are tied for first in the AL East.

    Mets 5, Braves 3, Nationals 4, Cubs 2- Braves now only up by 15 games in the NL East. Feeling the pressure yet, Atlanta?

    Twins 6, Tigers 3- Four RBI for Justin Morneau as the Twins win the opener of this series. The Tigers had men on first and second with Cabrera coming up in the ninth inning, but Glen Perkins “kept his cool” as the MLB Network would say.

    Rangers 4, Astros 2- The Astros held a 2-1 lead going into the sixth inning, but Adrian Beltre hit a two run home run to put Texas in the lead for good. That was the 84th loss for Houston, who is now on pace to go 53-109 this season. That would make them the first team with 3 105+ loss seasons since the 1962-65 Mets.

    Brewers 6, Cardinals 3- Big 4th inning for Milwaukee, grinding out five runs on (in order): single, single, single, sac fly, single.

    Pirates 8, Padres 1- I was watching MLB Tonight last night, and after two innings, Dan Plesac called a no-hitter for AJ Burnett, based on the way his curveball was going. He gave up his first hit in the next inning. Still pitched well (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), as the Pirates extend their lead in the NL Central to two games.

    White Sox 2, Royals 0- John Danks, in the midst of a struggling season shuts the Royals down (8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 K). Kansas City’s lost six of eight.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      You are hired.

    • johnnysoda - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:49 AM

      Indians 4, Angels 1- Drew Stubbs broke the tie in the top of the 14th with a two-run homer. Joe Blanton took the loss in relief, and is now 2-14 with a 6.14 ERA. Ouch.

      Giants 3, Red Sox 2- Xander Bogaerts’ big league debut was not one to remember- he went 0-3 with a strikeouts and left the game in a double switch. The Giants had a runner on first with two outs, before a walk, hit by pitch, and the always awkward walk-off walk. Not a pleasant one for Boston.

      Mariners 7, Athletics 4- Seattle took the lead in the eighth on two wild pitches that scored three runs, wasting a great start from Sonny Gray (7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). In other news, this game drew 13,041. The Marlins, meanwhile, drew 25,690. I understand the stadium in Oakland is not great, but for a playoff contending team they should be able to draw more than barely half of the Marlins.

      • Senor Cardgage - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        I’d make one addendum to the Angels summary: Emblematic of their season, the Angels loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th and still managed not to score the winning run.

    • El Bravo - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      No, not really.

      – Atlanta

  6. proudlycanadian - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Congratulations to the Yankees on winning both games of the double header. Hughes pitched much better than expected. The picture is not completely sunny for the Yankees. They are calling up Warren to pitch today and a fading Soriano was hitless yesterday. I also learned that the Yankees inflate their attendance numbers. They claimed that there were 40,248 fans at the first game even though the stands looked to be at best half full. I also learned that Cano benefits from the home town scorer. He should have been given an error in the first game on an alleged hit that clanked off his glove.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      What I keep hoping you finally learn is that the bluejays season is OVER and that there is no FUTURE and that everyone in the AL East makes the jays their bi*ch!!! Wouldn’t that be something if the Yanks sweep with a guy like Warren who has never started a MLB game? I don’t expect it but man would I be laughing so loud you could hear me up in quebec!!!!

      • cur68 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        /Poo FLUNG!!

        Thank you for your Circus Chimp routine, ‘harry. We always know we can rely on you to show up and add your fertilizer to anything remotely Beaver Related. Now go wash. You smell.

    • cur68 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Nice review, PC. Our boys had ’em and the bullpen pretty much gave it away. Nice to see Rogers and Buehrle pitch well. Minus the big bat, though the offence couldn’t keep pace with what the bullpen was giving away, alas. Still, there are encouraging signs here. A few more pieces, and perhaps…

      Ah, fandom, eh? We live in hope…hope, which is either a gift or a curse, depending on how you look at it.

  7. Old Gator - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Hey Craig, what does Circling the Bases charge to post free advertising scams on here?

  8. tmohr - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Craig sez “unable to get to a full-blown And That Happened either. ”

    Aren’t there pills for that nowadays?

  9. historiophiliac - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Hey, thanks a lot, Twinkies. I hope Pena is okay; I’m really liking him. I find myself worrying about Avila returning less often now — but that will change if Pena is really hurt. The good news: Fielder hit HR #20 — that’s his third in almost a week. Big man might be inching back now (not that the RBI’s weren’t helpful before). Also, Phil Choke is out again. It still seems weird to have Bonderman putting in more time than Chokey. I feel like I’m in a time warp or something. Maybe I have some twist beads and jellies around somewhere that I can break out too…

    • dluxxx - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Mourney went BOOM! 😉

      Too bad Mauer went swoon. 😦

  10. theageofquarrel - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:16 AM


    • theageofquarrel - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Haters gonna hate I guess

  11. thebadguyswon - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Coffee is your friend, CC.

  12. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Jays are 57-69 a season high 12 games below .500, and 21-35 against the AL East!!! That’s the number I like the best!!! Can you say no future? Hopeless? You betcha can!

    • Old Gator - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Can you say anything else? You betcha can’t! And why? Is it because you’re a brain locked asshole? Lacking in imagination? Burdened by an infantile fascination with excrement? Bereft of any understanding of the game, its traditions and its spirit? Just plain dumb? No. Whereas all of these things are accurate, It’s actually because you’re not real, just a coincidentally coagulated Artifical Stupidity.

  13. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Orioles seem to not have gotten the memo that the playoff push started last week. Doesn’t look like they really feel like playing playoff baseball this year.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      What happened w/ K-Rod?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        I’m not sure four touchdowns in one game will help us…

      • historiophiliac - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        I don’t get it. Football. /shrugs

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        bah, wrong reply button! -1 internets for me

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Same thing that’s happening with Jim Johnson lately.

      It’s the Hit Parade!

      • historiophiliac - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        You need some Bundy!

  14. Jonny 5 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Why does anyone give a shit about how over enthusiastic a player seems while playing this sport? I bet the LAD fans love it. Strut your stuff like a peacock Yasiel. I feel he should do it more often, just to ruffle the feathers of the opposition. Even silent up tight sports like tennis and golf allow celebratory actions without the media making a stink of it. This is all just more media BS that isn’t worth the ink to print.

  15. APBA Guy - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    That was certainly a hairball at the Mausoleum last night. When ahead by 2 or more in the 7th or later, the A’s had a 52-2 record. When behind by 2 in the 7th or later, the Mariners were 2-53. Thank you, UVA alum Sean Doolittle.

    Although, strictly speaking, it wasn’t all on him. That clanking sound you heard was the ball bouncing out of Cespedes glove in the 8th. Not that catching it would miraculously see Doolittle get the ball down the rest of the inning, but we won’t know now.

    Anyway Melvin obviously knew the game was going south when he came out to argue the Franklin slide at the plate. The kid’s already a pest, what with his home run and all, and in the 8th he beat the tag and Norris cracked a toe on the play. Not good. Norris is the better of the A’s receivers, he seems to have that connection with the starters that goes beyond just catching skill. Kurt Suzuki had that with the Anderson/Cahill generation. Norris is like that with Parker,Griffin et al. He looks like he’ll be out for more than a week.

    The A’s have to have the game this afternoon against Iwakuma. That’s a big order as he seems to be over his rough patch, and the A’s offense is still sputtering.

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