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Great Moments in Missing The Entire Point of Major League Baseball

Aug 21, 2013, 9:14 AM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

I first saw that Bill Plaschke column about the Dodgers benching Yasiel Puig I linked in this morning’s And That Happened last night right after it went up.  At the time the Dodgers game was still going on and the column was still basically “the Dodgers needed to bench Puig for his own good; good call.” What I had missed until just a few minutes ago was Plaschke’s update which came after Puig hit the big go-ahead pinch-hit homer.

The update is something else:

They need less of Puig’s reckless on-field behavior. They need less of his arrogant refusal to listen to instruction. They need less of an attitude that infuriates umpires. But they love the victories that the reckless, arrogant attitude produces.

They needed to bench him Tuesday. But they couldn’t bear to bench him for the entire game.

He needs to learn. But Mattingly showed that he’s unwilling to possibly sacrifice a victory to finish the lecture … With one swing Puig won a game, but, in playing him, the Dodgers risked losing much more.

Sorry: but if you look at a manager putting a player into the game in a key spot and that player hitting a clutch, go-ahead homer as some bad thing, you may very well have disappeared up into your own butt, Mr. Sportswriter. You may very well have allowed your preferred narrative — “untamed, swaggering head case needs to be taught a lesson” — obscure the fact that Don Mattingly’s job is to win baseball games and Yasiel Puig’s job is to crush baseballs. This isn’t Little League. Life lessons are great if you can get them, but it’s winning that keeps people employed and fans going through the turnstiles.

I suppose the Dodgers’ lead is too big to expect the Dbacks or someone to catch them for the last playoff spot. And I certainly wish no misfortune on them. But it would be something if the NL West came down to the last day of the season and the Dodgers ended up making the playoffs by one game. If that happened I’d be curious to see if Plaschke remembered this game and his preference to see the Dodgers lose in the name of the Education of Yasiel Puig.

  1. yahmule - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    **** the media!

    • Old Gator - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      A**n!

    • apkyletexas - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Five Puig articles in 24 hours.

      Nice. But we want to hear more about A-Rod. Hasn’t he taken his clothes off and kissed any mirrors recently?

      By the way – when do we get the article about how Puig’s BA has plummeted from .450 to .350? At this rate, he’ll end the season at .250, and he’ll be out of baseball by next June.

      • cw2121 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Actually, you don’t understand rates.

        The last time Yasiel Puig’s BA was .450 was June 21.

        Since then, he has a BA of .317

        So, at this rate, his BA will be well above .250 at the end of the year. And something tells me he won’t have trouble staying in baseball.

        Also, are you really complaining about a guy not batting .450, but instead a paltry .350?

      • apkyletexas - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        You’ve proven my point mathematically. If he’s dropped from .450 to .317 over the past two months, he’ll be down to exactly .251 on September 21st.

        And, out of baseball with a .053 average by June 21, 2014.

        It’s a shame when you think about it, really. He had such promise.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        Cw, if you can’t recognize that bit of sarcasm, then you need to turn your snark meter in for a new one.

  2. paperlions - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I think this is largely a generational thing. Old crotchety people just don’t like swaggering young people, never have. They always think they need to “be taught a lesson”, as if someone having swagger and enjoying what you do is a bad thing.

    Nothing new here.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      True. Now, get off my lawn!

      • yahmule - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        Dude, he’s old, too.

        :~)

    • themightyquinn1 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      And the average age of MLB managers is? Those crotchedly people have no clue what they are doing, right? (departed Charlie excepted). Manny, just as old mentally as Puig, did no harm to the Red Sox clubhouse with his antics either?

  3. dondada10 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Players hate not starting. Puig not starting last night was his punishment. But there’s no need to punish the rest of the roster by not making the best managerial moves you can late in the ball game.

  4. travishenrykid - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I don’t think it’s a generational thing as much as it is enabling. Most good managers have two rules…show up on time and hustle. He broke one of them. And then at end of the day, he’s glorified. In the 60′s, the Yankees enabled Mickey Mantle’s identical behavior in the exact same way, and his breaking of the rules never changed. Mattingly can’t expect Puig to show up on time now, because the Dodgers had to win a game, and there were no consequences for the player.

    • Ben - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      WOW! You are so right! I never thought about it that way at all. If the Yankees had punished Mantle more then he might have gone on to be something. Instead, he will go down in history as the guy no one ever heard of because he stunk so much and because the Yankees (where are they from again?) never won anything all because they did not punish him!

      • travishenrykid - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        As the headline says, Great Moments in Missing The Entire Point of Major League Baseball. As Mantle said, “Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else’s brain, who knows how good a player I might have been.” The sad part would be if Puig wouldn’t get the most out of his ability because they allow him to slack. If the Cardinals had jumped on Garry Templeton earlier, he could have been the best shortstop ever. First guy with 100 hits from both sides of the plate, amazing defense. But he wasted it because the Cardinals let him. The POINT is that a fan should hope enabling bad behavior doesn’t cause Puig to head down the same path.

      • yahmule - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Maybe coming from a long line of alcoholics into a profession teeming with alcoholics kind of stacked the deck against the old Mick just a bit.

    • zzalapski - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      If Puig turns out to be as good as Mickey Mantle, I doubt the Dodgers will care when he shows up at the park as long as it’s before the national anthem.

      • dwishinsky - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Crap he can miss the national anthem if he has Mantle’s talent.

      • pixteca - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:02 AM

        It’s not even HIS national anthem playing.

    • vansloot - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Yeah, and we all know how Mickey Mantle turned out, right? Wow, what if Puig turned into that! We can only hope he doesn’t.

      • dangle13x - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        I love the mouth breathers that think sarcasm is so profound.

      • dangle13x - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        Oh eat my asshole with a spoon you fucking losers.

      • bravojawja - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Damn, dangle, chill. It’s only the internet.

    • ctyank70 - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Travis, please don’t compare Mickey Mantle to Puig. The fact that you can even write the two names in the same sentence is amazing in and of itself. Mantle was a phenomenal player, an all time great, one of the top 10 position players in the history of the game. Puig has been in the majors for an hour and a half. Puig acts as if he is above it all, the greatest thing in the game and entitled to act in over-the-top ways to draw attention to himself. He is a punk in no uncertain terms.

      Mantle came up when he was 19. He would respect the veterans and never showed up the opponents. When he homered, he ran around the bases with his head down, never jumping up and down and sliding into home plate on a walk off the Puig does.

      He was adored and admired by his teammates and opponents as well. Other players on other teams speak in reverence about Mantle and the way he played the game. Puig has already alienated opponents with his “style”, if you want to call it that.

      Did Mantle have his faults? You bet he did. Did the Yankees “enable” him? No. No more than they enabled Whitey Ford, Billy Martin, and the rest of the crew. That was the was things were in the 50′s and 60′s.

      Do everyone a favor and stop writing about things you have no business spouting off about. Puig is a punk who will be more likely to be a footnote in the history of the game (like Joe Charbonneau, or Mark Fidrych, or a thousand others who came in with a bang and left with a whimper), rather than an all time American icon like Mantle.

      Please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  5. jcmdcp - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Baseball has always been about more than baseball, is what Mr. Plaschke is hoping his readers remember. Your argument makes good business sense: the object is to win the game. But at what cost, is Mr. Plaschke’s point. For years people have juiced to help win the game. It was their job to win games & they did so, & the manager’s turned their heads, & so it was the game, as you so perfectly stated, which disappeared up its own butt. That said, this isn’t juicing, this is a case of “Manny being Manny” syndrome, & if you don’t nip this in the bud early, you may see a disgruntled clubhouse in the future. Did you see how he reacted the other night on a strikeout, by slamming things around in the dugout, pushing people off him? Do you know who doesn’t win baseball games? Disgruntled clubhouses.

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Dodgers looked REAL disgruntled as Puig came back into the dugout after knocking it out of the park. Please!

      • jcmdcp - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        This was one game. When you work next to someone day in & day out, it’s different. Every have a shitty officemate before? It wears on you.

      • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Do you know for a fact of Puig being a bad teammate? Are you a player/coach/front office person of the Dodgers?

      • zzalapski - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        The Dodgers are 50-20 since Puig joined them. I bet other teams wish they had that kind of disgruntled clubhouse.

      • rasta028 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Disgruntled? Yeah right, that’s why they were all over him after he hit it out…

        Media trying to make something out of nothing….
        Is it any wonder why Puig told the media to f off?

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

      Baseball has always been just about baseball, nothing more, nothing less. Anything other than that is projection and/or wishcasting on the observer’s part.

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

      Don’t forget that the Red Sox won 2 World Series with Manny on the way to a disgruntled clubhouse.

      • natstowngreg - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        And the A’s and Yankees with Reggie Jackson. And the Cards with Rogers Hornsby. I’m sure the list is lengthy (not just to pick on them).

    • raysfan1 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Two words on disgruntled clubhouses not winning: Bronx Zoo.

  6. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Wow, a spambot that can spell. Where can I buy one?

  7. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Don’t agree with Craig often, but he is spot on here. What a piece of sanctimoneous garbage from Plaschke.

    • crackersnap - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      As a Southern Californian, I can attest that there is no other kind of garbage to be had from Mr. Plaschke. Nor is there anything to be had from him, beyond garbage.

    • lanflfan - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Bill Plaschke is the second worst “sportswriter” in LA, behind only That Jerk Simers. I avoid both of their “writing” and/or “reporting”, since they have an aptitude for neither.

  8. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Aww, when did we start deleting Spambot posts? Now my post looks silly and out of place.

  9. andreweac - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    This isn’t an old white dude thing… It is a Plaschke thing.

    However, isn’t baseball all about grit, hustle and playing the game the right way! If the Dodgers cared about the children and the integrity of the game they should suspend Puig until he becomes the man Jeff Francouer is.

  10. riverace19 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Great article title! I’m usually not into the whole MLB melodrama sideshow but this Puig one is irresistible… It’s so in your face to the sports media who think they know more than they do… Keep on winning games for your team Puig and let them get pissed… And don’t change!

  11. koufaxmitzvah - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    For crying out loud, Plaschke. This was a scheduled day off for Puig, in part because he had been swinging at some terrible pitches, and because he was in freaking Florida… as a recent Cuban defector with New World success! Lebron wants a piece of him and the local Cuban community wants all of him.

    Don Mattingly, knowing that he’s got a young yet drinking aged rookie was right both times. First, for giving him a day off after the first night in Miami. Then, for fining the rook for getting to the stadium late. And, yeah, during the double switch which allowed Puig to lead off the 8th with a home run.

    Yasiel Puig learns from his mistakes. He has better plate discipline, doesn’t miss his cut-off anymore, and probably will never try to tag-up and go to 3rd on a short fly to center ever again.

    But I also see Plaschke’s point: Once branded, always branded. Because this is America and shit. If you can make it here, you better not be an asshole that isn’t my kind of asshole, amiright?

    • nogoodtomedead - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Man- you really have a thing for Puig. Hope he gives you tickets or something.

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

        I have a thing for the Dodgers. One reason why I come to a baseball blog and post about my team.

        You have a thing for yourself. That’s why you come to a baseball blog and post bullshit about my team.

        See how that goes?

      • nogoodtomedead - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Haha- I never said anything bad about your team- yesterday I made a comment about how I thought it was weird how many people support some of Puig’s perceived issues when generally fans jump all over guys for a lot of this stuff- and you flipped out. Then today I made a joke about your aggressive protection of Puig- and you flipped out. I bet your the kind of fan that heckles a dad with like a 7 year old kid at Dodger stadium if he isn’t wearing the blue.

    • yahmule - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      I agree with you. Personally, I’m not a fan of Mattingly’s managerial acumen overall, but I believe he’s handling Puig pretty well.

  12. cavemanna - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Mattingly played the situation perfectly. Lets see if he sits a couple more innings if he does it again. I met Puig in class A year before and from what little I can tell,his success( understandably ) has went to his head a bit. Seemed far more humble then. But much like Plashcke that opinion is from afar. Donnie B runs that ship. In Donnie B we trust.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Does the Spanish-speaking press have the same issues with Puig?

  14. 49faithful - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I think Plaschke is right some times when a player is out of control you need to show him who is boss to keep him in line. Just take a look at football and Vernon Davis of the 49ers. He was spinning out of control and needed to be put in place. One of the only things singletary did right was send him to the locker room and then come out and pretty much tell him he was not needed. Davis accepted the message and turned around to become a team player and no longer a distraction.

    • dangle13x - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      and Singletary was fired.

      • 49faithful - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        That is way I said one of the ONLY things he did right..

  15. natstowngreg - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    *turns on sarcasm button*

    Wow, a young player who’s an even bigger jerk than Bryce Harper. How is that possible?

    *turns off sarcasm button*

    • lanflfan - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Wow, a young player who is even better than Bryce Harper. How is that possible?

      Fixed that for you.

  16. eightyraw - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I’m getting real tired of writers (and announcers) discussing/treating Puig like he is a child.

  17. pop562 - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    With the first pitch and a swing of the bat….BOOOM, Puig goes yard and help the Dodgers beat the elite Marlins.

  18. MyTeamsAllStink - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Just Puig being Puig.

  19. kingscourt25 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Your first mistake was taking anything Bill Plaschke writes or says seriously, Craig.

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