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Taking “Puig is the problem” hysteria to the next level

Aug 22, 2013, 10:01 AM EDT

Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

I thought Bill Plaschke was bad yesterday but CBS’s Scott Miller has outdone him in the “Yasiel Puig is an out-of-control monster who must be put in his place” rhetoric today. And really, he calls him a monster:

Puig clearly has the talent to lead the Dodgers to an October title. And he clearly contains the recklessness to push the team bus straight over a cliff. Self-made man meets self-destruction, head on … with each home run and highlight-reel moment, the monster grows. Biggest question this season now is this: Can the Dodgers eke a Kirk Gibson moment out of Puig this October before they get a Frankenstein moment? … this late-night carousing, cutoff-man missing, curfew busting phenom borders on going berserk-o out of control.

I can’t recall another 22 year-old player who has had a couple of fundamental lapses and one argument with an umpire — that was clearly instigated by the umpire — being described like this.

No one at CBS thinks this is over the top? Even a little? We’re actually going with “Puig is Frankenstein’s Monster” who is “beserk-o out of control”?

One wonders how much of this is based on the fact that Puig, due to the language barrier, can’t give “aw-shucks” interviews which charm writers.

UPDATE: For a great, non-hysterical take on Yasiel Puig, go check out Tim Brown’s column. Night and day difference. Amazing what happens when one thinks and reflects a bit.


  1. commonsenseisnotcmonman - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    More and more I agree with Puig’s blanket statement about the media.

    • Michael - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      The main problem with the media is that controversy sells. Couple that with the many sportswriters who themselves are frustrated athletes, in disbelief that these guys got the millions while the sportswriter toils to pay the rent, and you have a recipe for bad, bad journalism.

      Remember that many of these guys spend their days listening to sports talk radio, where the Rush Limbaughs of sports have to “stimulate” listeners into calling in. It’s like a fungus.

      Deadspin is no better — they’re just more witch-hunty.

      This is why I generally read Craig (and did back when he was at HBT), Baseball Prospectus, and that’s pretty much it.

  2. southofheaven81 - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Man, can you imagine if this kid gets accused of taking PEDs? It’s gonna be baseball’s version of the Nazi trials in Israel!

    • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Let’s not go Godwin now. Anyway, we’ve had that going with Ryan Braun saga for over a year.

      No, this is more American mainstream racism that plagued Roberto Clemente with a bad rap until he became an icon for human compassion. Baseball folks loved his talent, but between language barrier and passion, he was belittled and cast aside by the media. Great biography by David Maraniss.

      • natstowngreg - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        As a Pirates fan at the time (and too young to know any better), one didn’t see the racism. What one could see was, Clemente wasn’t getting his due as a player. Not just compared to the white stars of the era, but the black stars as well–Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Frank Robinson, for examples. It took his performance in the 1971 World Series to give Clemente recognition he deserved.

        Yes, Maraniss’ biography was excellent.

      • badintent - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:44 AM

        He was a constant whiner of real and unreal injuries. Media got tired of his act. So did I. Mays played through pain, but threw in some “fainting spells ” to get days off in August.. Bob Gibson was my guy and I’m not a Cards fan. That guy brought it every time.Threw a fastball with BADINTENT. Comprede ?

    • 18thstreet - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      You do realize that the Nazis were actually guilty, right?

      • southofheaven81 - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        A fair cop.

  3. crispybasil - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Even worse: somewhere, someone is reading Miller’s column and violently nodding along to every awful sentence.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”

  5. waiverclaim - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Stolen from twitter:

    Scott Miller’s latest:

    -18 one-sentence paragraphs
    -6 sentences beginning w/ “And”
    -1 “Holy smokes!”
    -1 “Hoo, boy.”
    -22 sentence fragments.

  6. shaggylocks - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    This reminds me of Sammy Sosa, smiling and blowing kisses as he rounded third and headed home after a home run. With the language barrier and his dark skin, he knew he had to appear as cuddly and likable as possible to avoid crap like this.

    • yahmule - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Latin players who are reluctant to talk because they don’t fully understand the language: MOODY

    • badintent - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:47 AM

      It’s Hollywood, over the top, over rated, over hyped , over priced and just like the last bad movie you paid your hard earned money for ……………………Garbage

      • shaggylocks - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Wait… what?

  7. sportsdrenched - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Didn’t some dude named Cassius Clay act like this too when he broke into the boxing world? Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR? and now…everyone loves those guys. Don’t take that to mean I think Puig will have the same impact on MLB those guys had their professions. But they also had similar criticisms early in their careers.

    • yahmule - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Ali got hate mail that would have even made run-of-the-mill racists cringe.

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      The consequences of 24 hour a day coverage and the media not knowing/respecting limits. Can you imagine the stories that would have come out about Mickey Mantle if he played today?

  8. nogoodtomedead - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Plaschke is a tool. He is totally just blowing things out of proportion to get attention.

    • nogoodtomedead - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      And Miller is just piling on. Media sensationalism is the method of the day.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Did you see the tantrum he directed at plate ump John Hirschbeck after striking out Monday in Miami? Holy smokes.

    So according to Miller this was all Puig’s fault?

    • emdash01 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      And even if he did argue with an umpire, it shouldn’t be blown up that much. Hasn’t pretty much every player argued with a call at some point? Puig’s put in the position of needing to be more mature than the average player or be considered out of control.

      The difference between “temper tantrum” and an ordinary argument is that the writer dislikes the player.

  10. zzalapski - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    To reiterate, since Puig’s June 3rd debut, the Dodgers have won almost *72%* of their games en route to running away with the division. Of course, Puig isn’t the only reason for LA’s success, but he’s been a major contributor.

    The depths to which Plaschke, Miller, and their ilk will go to hate on someone so integral to a winning team is astrounding. It’s like they’re taking correspondence writing courses from Mike Lupica.

    • American of African Descent - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Come one now. The Dodgers have won almost 72% of their games since Puig’s debut despite Puig, not because of him. Can you imagine how well they’d be doing if they had brought up a nice, clean-cut, English-speaking young man?

      • cur68 - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        I hear Francoeur needs a team.

  11. yousuxxors - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    shaking your head and walking away is picking a fight all of a sudden. the media loves putting someone on a pedestal than kicking them over .

    • yahmule - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Yasiel – like so many young athletes – needs to mature a bit. The backlash is over the top, but predictable. I think we’re seeing a mixture of ESPN hype blowback, generational disconnect and good old fashioned racism.

  12. pixteca - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    I think sometimes there is something more in this kind of columns, like something personal. Don’t these writers understand that ANY team can lose thanks to one players’ mistake? Or even an umps’ mistake? The Dodgers (and any team) may end up being eliminated in that decisive game 4… 5… whatever thanks to some mistake not from a guy like Yasiel, but from any other accident from even the most talented and disciplined player. That just happens, it’s baseball nature, you win because some player made a good play combined with another player error or slow response to that move.

  13. natslady - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I can’t recall another 22 year-old player who has had a couple of fundamental lapses and one argument with an umpire — that was clearly instigated by the umpire — being described like this.

    Maybe there is some racism, maybe not. Replace 22 with 20. Watch the comments section.

    • emdash01 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Even as a Nats fan, though, I think the sportswriter reaction to Puig is on another level. There have been articles talking about the need to ‘break’ him, and borderline talking about him like an animal. Harper gets the brat punk narrative, but he’s never been talked about quite like that.

      • natslady - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Yeah. Puig goes to a party, he’s out of control. Matt Harvey–the toast of NY.

  14. ctony1216 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Thanks for the link to the Tim Brown story. Nice job by him.

    Earlier today, when I saw the headline on Scott Miller’s story, I just skipped it. It was obviously a hatchet job, and I didn’t want to give it a click through. Glad I didn’t.

  15. yahmule - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Miller’s follows up his hatchet piece by whining on Twitter that people are haters and he really loves Puig.

  16. Old Gator - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Somehow, it’s hard to imagine Puig giving an “aw shucks” answer. I think it would be more like “go fuck yourselves,” and assuming he was speaking to the media cockaroaches, he’d be justified, too.

    • mogogo1 - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      And don’t think for a moment that doesn’t scare the crap out of some of these old-school writers. It’s the age of the 24 hour news cycle, but individual writers (even for major outlets) have never been less relevant. Between Facebook, Twitter, and the countless minor media outlets, players can basically ignore most of the traditional media powers if they choose to. As long as he keeps playing well, the team keeps winning, and he avoids any major issues like being arrests or PEDs, Puig could become the most popular player in the game without ever actually talking to any of the self-important writers.

  17. jrbdmb - Aug 23, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    “Taking “Puig is the problem” hysteria to the next level”

    I’m confused. Concerning the Dodgers and how they are currently playing, what exactly is the problem?

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