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Puig, Dodgers have a meeting to clear the air, all claim things are positive

Mar 27, 2014, 7:45 AM EST

Yasiel Puig AP

Yesterday, before I wrote that post about how Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times and others are continuing to beat the “Yasiel Puig is a team cancer” drum, I spent a good couple of hours on Twitter having mildly-contentious back-and-forths with some reporters about All Things Puig.

The upshot: People on the outside (like me) are contrarian jerks who can’t possibly know what goes on inside the clubhouse, and that we should really listen to the people inside who know for a fact that everyone on the Dodgers hates Yasiel Puig, and that because they all hate him he’s detrimental to the team. A sampling of that conversation:

So that was the setup, and the back and forth between Jones, Knight, myself and some others basically had me saying that, if Puig is not actively harming his team who cares if he’s a “five tool a-hole,” and those on the inside telling me that “oh yeah, he’s harming his team, his teammates hate him.” I asked how we can know that he’s harming the team. The answer: it’s self-evident, isn’t it?

And on and on.

Some of these disputes (like those with access vs. those without) are larger than the subject of Yasiel Puig and aren’t about to be resolved. But if we take the arguments of those with whom I was conversing yesterday at face value, they have to boil down to this: “It’s better to believe what those in the clubhouse are reporting about Yasiel Puig’s relationship with his teammates than to just assume that we know better.”

OK, then, how does this fit in?

So before the latest controversy with Puig had a chance to mushroom, manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.

A source described Puig as “very open” during the meeting and receptive to what was said.

A positive, constructive meeting in which Puig came away saying all the right things about wanting to be a better player and a good teammate and a manager saying that it’s all good and that everyone is heading in the right direction. No teammates, on the record or off, are saying they have continuing problems with Puig. It’s a sourced and reported story of a team nipping a problem in the bud.

But this all happened on Tuesday. Before Bill Plaschke wrote a column in which Puig was a cancer and all of the same things about Puig being receptive and Mattingly saying there are no issues between the team and Puig were spun as things that were negative and not to be believed. Likewise, my Twitter correspondents — the ones who told me that I must listen to and believe the people who live in and report from that clubhouse rather than think I know better — were essentially dismissive of it too. No, Puig’s a jerk, they say. He’s bad news for that team.

Why is it that all of us have to believe what the reporters and people on the team have to say and the reporters themselves do not? And why do those folks get to assert their superior authority — I’ve been there, I know, you haven’t, you don’t! — and totally dismiss the actual statements of the principals involved? It’s almost as if it’s someone besides me “telling people how it is” without any basis for doing so.

In any event: until someone wants to actually report and explain what they assert is so obvious — Yasiel Puig is a big a-hole who is hated by his teammates and that dynamic has harmed the Dodgers — I’m going to choose to believe what Don Mattingly and the Dodgers say about the situation. And here’s what they’re saying about the situation:

“It was good for everybody. Donnie just wanted to squash this, and it did,” one veteran, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.com.

Puig said he understood his teammates “wanted to help me get better” and encouraged them to approach him directly anytime they had something to say to him.

“Puig’s a good kid. He just didn’t come up through the system like we all did,” a veteran teammate said.

Afterward, Mattingly addressed the media and said of Puig, “We’re good. I’ve got no issues with Yasiel.”

I assume this will be dismissed by the Plaschkes and Joneses of the world as mere PR, spin, etc. Which, sure, happens a lot. But if it is, tell us why it is. Report something which gives us a reason to believe that everyone here is lying and that, in reality, Puig is still a malignant force who is going to bring the Dodgers down. Don’t merely assert it and expect us to believe you.

  1. freddsox - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I don’t think the issues the team has with Puig are as much attitude (what player isn’t arrogant to some degree) as baseball aptitude. Puig runs the bases like he’s in T-ball. Last year he ran into more out than most players will in a career. Already this year he’s run into more outs than any other player will all year. I’m thinking that act has gotten pretty old to the other players

  2. kylewo - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    To see how logical Molly Knight is check out this twitter thread.

    • lanflfan - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      This Dodger fan ignores Bill Plaschke because he is a *&^%ing moron who is more interested in selling newspapers than actually following the team and reporting factual information. No fans I know give his “writing” any credence or respect.

  3. keltictim - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Chc4 I couldn’t have said it better myself. Craig, how about some examples of Latin players being treated differently than white players when acting like 5 tool a holes. If your gonna claim racism, how about sone apples to apples examples.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Start here.

      http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/62352290

      • chc4 - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Bryce Harper has been criticized for his overzealous behavior at times. Guess you need to go back through his ancestral family tree to track down any minority blood in his lineage. That way it’ll fit your pre-determined narrative.

      • deathmonkey41 - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Bryce Harper plays in a much smaller market. There aren’t as many reporters looking for stories. Stop with all the race stuff.

  4. jburk003 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    My best friend in HS is in the dodgers organization. He was drafted in the top 10 rounds sometime in the last 4 years ( to protect his identity I want to keep the year and round anonymous). The kids from Northern California and I’ve known him since I was 8. I’m a huge baseball fan ( SF giants) so I talk to my buddy often about the NL west and dodgers. Since he’s gotten drafted I obviously follow the dodgers now.

    Anyway, his exact words to me about Puig when we last talked( I brought up Puig looking fat): ” he definitely came to camp looking chunky.”

    A few text messages he wrote:

    “He’s kinda a diva haha. He doesn’t seem to get along with most people on the 25 man. He shows up and leaves in a blur. I sware to god he drinks like a fish too”

    Exact words from my friend. I still have the txt messages saved in my iPhone. I’m counting down the days until Puigs gone

    • mississipeepee - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Awesome insight, and I think as Dodger fan on the outside the majority of us can appreciate this too. He does seem to rub a lot of people the wrong way and will need to make some personality adjustments in order to not completely alienate himself.

      The issue with the beat reporters is they haven’t been able to provide any proof, yet they insist on jamming it down our throats this way. It’s on them to provide us with credible and clear evidence, not to point at the smoke and say “there’s obviously a fire idiots.” I’ve got a bigger issue with the (Boston) way of reporting they’re taking too instead of real journalism

    • ilovegspot - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      What a dumb post from a giant fan.

  5. savior72 - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Puljos’ HR off Lidge is a bad example of showboating, that was such a BOMB. That place went from not being able to hear yourself think to being able to hear a mouse fart in a second. I remember the video of Andy Petite in the dugout saying ‘ oh my God!”. I think anyone would’ve stood there at home plate watching that one.

    • bfunk1978 - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Yeah that was a beast that (potentially) ruined Lidge for a couple years there, or at least that’s the fun narrative that explained why he started blowing more saves (14 in 2 years from 06-07, more than his first 4 years combined).

  6. psunick - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    From everything I can tell, all of the recent criticism of Puig was directed at his play in Game Two of the Australia series: mainly, his team-damaging baserunning errors.

    What on earth is racial about calling out a player for making dumb, Little League-ish mistakes?

    Nowhere I have I read even a snippet of his being criticized because he is Cuban. Only blog has brought up racial overtones.

    I play organized baseball, and I can tell you this much: I, and my teammates, would make it pretty clear, pretty quickly, that those baserunning gaffes are absolutely not acceptable performance.

    And we wouldn’t care which race, color or creed that you represent.

    • psunick - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      “…only THIS blog….”

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