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J.P. Howell: Yasiel Puig was bullied in the Dodger clubhouse

Nov 15, 2013, 9:41 AM EDT

Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

Bullying has been all over the sports landscape recently. The Incognito-Martin thing most obviously. Earlier this week the Tigers won MLB’s philanthropic award for the team’s anti-bullying initiative. And outside of sports bullying has become something that people are talking about and taking increasingly seriously as a threat to young people.

Against that backdrop, Dodgers pitcher J.P. Howell — whose wife Heather has written an anti-bullying book aimed at young kids — spoke to the L.A. Times about bullying. And in the course of his comments he let an interesting nugget drop:

Howell said he saw Yasiel Puig bullied in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, though he would not discuss who was involved, or what happened to Puig.

“The guy is such a champion,” Howell said. “He has such a big heart. Sometimes he acts like a jerk, but that is his defense mechanism. It’s not really him.

Howell said this after describing an incident that happened to him as a rookie that is usually described as hazing: he had his suit shredded by someone and not replaced. Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” and many other baseball anecdotes describe players’ shoes being nailed to the floor and other activities which, depending on who describes them, can be referred to as pranks or goofs or hazing or, yes, bullying.

Did Dodgers players prank or haze Puig like many other rookies have been pranked or hazed before? Did they treat him differently? Or, whether it was different or the same, did Puig take it as an acceptable rite-of-passage, or was it harmful?

My guess is we won’t know. That neither Puig nor other Dodgers will talk about it or will, at best, downplay it as nothing. And we may even see Howell backtrack some if this turns into a big story instead of remaining a mere anecdote.

But we haven’t really had this conversation in baseball before. If we do now, I suspect it will be pretty fascinating.

  1. bfar4526 - Nov 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    It is called rookie hazing. It is all fun and games. People are just so soft these days that what has been part of the game for ages is all of a sudden offensive. Toughen up society, we losing are gonads, sorry females.

    • spc7ray - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      All I can say is good for Howell-I hope the Dodgers resign him–We need him a lot–very good pitcher

  2. drelms - Nov 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    There goes calcatera up on his politically correct soap box, do we really care what you think moron?


    • cohnjusack - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Yet, you read his articles. Funny how he may be confused about that.

  3. jdillydawg - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    This bullying things getting a bit out of hand. Hell, if you look at someone the wrong way these days, you’re considered a bully.

  4. spc7ray - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Nothing wrong with this–Good for Howell_ I just hope he stays a Dodger –We need him also

  5. somekat - Dec 26, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    The only thing worse than a kid crying about being bullied, are grown men crying about being bullied

    Man up and do something about it, or shut up. At least Puig has a backbone

  6. jeffbbf - Dec 31, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    I remember being really angry when I heard that Jay Johnstone bullied Steve Garvey by putting a Hershey bar in his glove between innings. Imagine the humiliation Garvey felt at getting such a chocolate mess on his hand when he put his mitt on as he was running out to the field. Heartbreaking.

  7. rcali - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    I’m made of rubber, you’re made of glue, what you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!

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