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Yasiel Puig called that team meeting last week, asked teammates for help to get better

Mar 30, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

Yasiel Puig AP AP

Narratives are a hell of a thing.

A guy pops on the scene as a bit of a showboat, ruffles some feathers and shows some immaturity and it’s so easy to put him in a box. He’s arrogant and entitled and doesn’t know how to Play The Game The Right Way. He needs to be tamed and taught and called on the carpet and if he doesn’t he’s gonna find himself outta baseball, etc.

And then he is called on the carpet by the team and, “well, doesn’t that just prove my point?” says the narrative-builders. “Maybe you shouldn’t accuse us of building false narratives after all, you unconnected fans and bloggers and stuff.”

That’s what happened with Yasiel Puig last week, we were told. We were told that Don Mattingly finally had enough of Puig’s immaturity and that Mattingly and Puig’s teammates held nothing short of an intervention to get him on the right track. “That does NOT happen with players who aren’t epic jackwagons, son, as those of us who live in baseball clubhouses can tell you. It proves there was a huge problem and that this kid is on thin frickin’ ice.”


And lest you think this is spin by Colletti to protect a player, I have independently confirmed that Puig called the meeting from a source familiar with the meeting and what led to it.

Huh. I wonder what the media would have said if Bryce Harper had called a team meeting in which he asked his teammates how to get better? Or if a player who had a track record of messing up did so. Might they not be lauded for their maturity? As someone who is taking responsibility for his future and his actions? Someone who respects his veteran teammates and wants to get better so the team can get better? I feel like that’s how that story would have played out.

Or, in any event, that’s how it would have played out if anyone had taken the time to find out what led to the meeting rather than assume it was a disciplinary, Come-To-Jesus sort of thing for a hot-blooded, Rolls-Royce driving showboat. But that never would’ve happened, I suppose, given that no one treats Yasiel Puig any differently than any other player. Perish the thought.

Regardless of what anyone in the media would’ve said about that, however, I’ll say this: Yasiel Puig calling a team meeting for the express purpose of asking his manager, coaches and veteran teammates to help him get better is a remarkably brave and mature thing to do. And anyone who wishes to weigh in on the alleged immaturity and recklessness of Yasiel Puig had best take this into account going forward. Because he is not playing by your narratives.

  1. andreweac - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Why are your silly facts destroying the narrative old white male news reporters are hell bent on creating?

    Save old, white male news reporters. Stop reporting facts!

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 31, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      Why they gotta’ be white?

  2. vanmorrissey - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Sorry, can’t stop loving Puig. As you state Craig, anyone else calls the meeting it would have been ‘leaked’ and we’d be seeing article after article exclaiming what a great move and team player that person is. Give this guy his credit, he’s young, full of money, in a new country, give him a break.

  3. Earnest Christian - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Reblogged this on Earnest Christian presents The OpinioNation | Sports and Pop Culture .

  4. okwhitefalcon - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM


    Wow, prisoner of the moment hyperbole anyone?

  5. quintjs - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    “Puig Meeting All About Puig – Do he even care about the team and the fans?”

    – My bet for tomorrow’s headline.

  6. rdanie29 - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Sorry Craig, I believe your ” un-named source” about as much as I do you. If you have a source, produce him, or STFU and quit spreading rumors.

    • ablueravine - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      how about Ned Colletti as a source?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      You don’t know how journalism works, do you? Because people do not reveal sources who ask not to be revealed.

      I assure you though, on the life of my children, that I have a source who told me this. Who, actually, told me this before Colletti admitted it on the radio, but who forbade me from revealing it because it was not supposed to be public knowledge. After Colletti said it, though, all bets were off.

      • apkyletexas - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        Does your girlfriend know about your love triangle with Puig and Bryce Harper? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      • jaydoubleyou22 - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        CC accusing someone of not knowing how journalism works. Oh, the irony!

      • schm1471 - Mar 31, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        It’s been awhile since I’ve attended J-School, but I don’t think claiming you have definitive proof that something happened because you attributed it to an unnamed source is “how journalism works.” Regardless of how many times you swear on the life of your children.

  7. phillysports1 - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    This guy can hit , has a cannon , hustles , run , defend in the outfield . That’s all you need in a baseball player .

    • apkyletexas - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Which is why he helped the Dodgers to a 9-0 thrashing of the Cardinals in game 6 of the NLCS.

      Oh wait.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        Kershaw gave up seven runs in that game. Does that mean he can’t pitch?

      • goldstar4robotboy - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Troll gonna troll.

      • paperlions - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        The Dodgers were 23-32 and in last place the day before Puig was called up.

        The Dodgers were 69-38 after Puig was called up.

        Sure, other things happened too (Ramirez got healthy, Greinke came back from shoulder injury), but if Puig was a problem in the clubhouse last year, it sure didn’t affect their ability to win.

      • apkyletexas - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        “Kershaw gave up seven runs in that game. Does that mean he can’t pitch?”

        No, but clearly the moment was far too much for him.

        Watching the way Kershaw pitched against the Cards compared to the way Gerritt Cole pitched against the Cards makes me feel good that Gerritt Cole pitches for my team.

    • thetoolsofignorance - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      This is precisely my point about Puig. And now it seems he’s trying to get it into the heads of his teammates and coaches that he is indeed working on improving and wants their help.

      He doesn’t need to “grow the hell up” or “play the right way”. He just needs to be judged by the standards that everyone else is and be prepared to learn and improve at what he’s bad at. I’m pretty sick of bitter, twisted up people who probably can’t even make their own relationship decisions without harming all around them casting stones at this kid. He isn’t Matt Bush for Pete’s sake. At 23 he’s prepared to own his mistakes and seek advice on how to improve. I know 40 year olds who’ll ask for advice and then go and do the exact opposite of what they’re advised. Puig’s sticking his neck out there as an already excellent baseball player and asking “what am I bad at and what can I do about it”. That’s a life lesson, folks.

      • indaburg - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:14 PM

        Being “prepared to own his mistakes and seek advice on how to improve” means that Puig is well on his way to being a grown-up. I thought the other day that Puig might have maturity issues based on his off the field issues with speeding, and his on the field lack of baserunning instincts, but calling a meeting asking for constructive criticism is a sign of great maturity, and I stand corrected. For the record, I’m pulling for the guy–I love watching him play and I enjoy the joie de vivre he brings to the ballpark.

      • thetoolsofignorance - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        I wasn’t in fact speaking about you. Rather the likes of those bitter old newsfarts like Plaschke. I’m also speaking about my own life experiences. The bitter outcomes of past relationships and life in general can still keep a tired old man up at night it seems. just ignore me

  8. moogro - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Sounds smart to me. Put the brakes on. Let everyone know that input is appreciated. Could be a milestone moment in a good season.

    • racksie - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Or it could be a make good move encouraged by his agent. And manager. And the front office.

      • moogro - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:37 PM


  9. doctornature - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    The 34/7 rush to judgement. The mandatory imperative to be the first to report something. The pay-per-page view thing that some writers are paid by. All these factor into the rush to judgement the media operates by these days. Puig is hot, and has been since he hit .523 or something last spring. He hit .167 this spring and his detractors get more clicks for criticising him than praising him, because his haters are even more passionate than his fans, because he is from a different culture and his brashness does not conform to American standards.

    None of this takes away from the fact that Puig may be just as talented as Trout. How he adopts his game and attitude the nest 3-4 years will tell if he signs a huge Miggy-like contract when he hits FA, or flames out like Vernon Wells. I wish him well. The game needs talent, and he has it.

  10. psly2124 - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Puig is an idiot.

    • ilovegspot - Mar 30, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      you are a fken idiot.

  11. racksie - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    I’m in my usuall place with Craig, here. I don’t disagree with his opinion on the topic at hand, but am amused by his bitterness at not receiving clubhouse credentials, and being called out by those that do have said credentials. Ahhhhh, the life of a blogger. And for the record, the reason it’s different for Puig than say, Trout, or Harper, is they are different than Puig, in that they are not routinely getting nailed for being arrogant jack wagons on the field, or on the road In their Rolls Royce.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      1. I have never been denied clubhouse credentials when I asked for them.

      2. My comments about the reporters are because, when this Puig thing started the other day, the first people to mention credentials and clubhouses and things were said reporters who used the fact that they’re in the clubhouse more often was reason for them to be believed and me to be doubted. And I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I should know my place.

      So, yes, I am talking about the clubhouse thing, as it was the #1 reason we were told that they were right about this. Now we are learning that they were not right about this or, at the very least, that they missed a pretty damn significant angle to it all that dramatically changes what they were saying about all of this. So in addition to this making a point about Puig — with which you agree — it is a point about how we know what we know and whether that matters. Which in this case it clearly does.

      • racksie - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Fair enough. On all levels.

  12. aceshigh11 - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    It’s too bad Jeff Kent isn’t still around to butt heads with Puig. That would have been quite amusing.

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      As long as Barry Bonds was also around to step in and defend the young teammate against Kent, yes, it would be quite amusing. It is funny how these “narratives” seem to ignore very important facts (not that you were doing so, but I never miss a chance like this to point out that Bonds was not a bad teammate.)

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Well, I don’t know enough about Puig or the politics of the Dodgers to have an informed opinion…and I think Kent could be a major prick.

        Still, it’d be amusing from an outsider’s perspective.

  13. 18thstreet - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I like the combination of having clubhouse sources and outsiders who just watch the games and tell us what they see. Back when Bill Simmons was at his Digital Cities site, it was a revelation — a funny guy who likes sports has something to say! We’re not all prisoners to Dan Shaugnessy! (Your city may differ.) And it was that same time that I was discovering Rob Neyer at ESPN — remember how he got suspended for calling Joe Morgan an idiot? Outsiders have value.

    I believe those writers who clashed with Craig last week know things that we don’t, and probably shouldn’t publish some of what they know. One of them said Puig is a 5-tool asshole. I believe it, I really do.

    But as a fan, I mostly care about who wins. The personality-driven stuff isn’t that compelling to me. But I’m glad all it’s all out there. Most of it, I ignore.

  14. musketmaniac - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    On the life of your children, Jesus Christ Craig. you can’t talk like that. Even I know that and I am an atheist

  15. psunick - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    A “press release” from the GM of the team? An unidentified source? My editor would have my you know what if I submitted the story you posted.

    Who was that unidentified source, Craig? A player? A coach? You can tell us info like that without giving the name. It would add to your credibility.

    That’s how it’s done in journalism, in case you didn’t know.

    • stex52 - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      It’s done that way in other forms of journalism, but not sports journalism. Not that it shouldn’t be done. But in point of fact, Craig’s note is every good for attribution as any I have seen from any reporter lately.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 30, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      You can tell us info like that without giving the name. It would add to your credibility.

      You’re kidding right? I’d say a quarter of Rosenthal’s tweets are “according to a source” that’s never named. It’s how these guys live, as Craig mentioned, by protecting their sources and we have to trust it’s not some ball boy or clubhouse attendant.

      No one burns their sources, or they are out of the information game, fast…

  16. savior72 - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Puig doing something mature, when has that ever happened before? My guess is his agent put him up to it. Only time will tell if it helps him.

  17. keltictim - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Ok, I fully respect your integrity about not giving up your source. Well done sir. While I believe the story I would like to see a second source that doesn’t benefit from putting it out there. It would just make me feel better about the whole thing. If true, it does make me rethink my assumptions on Puigs character. I still don’t buy the racial angle to any of this though. Not everything has to come down to race.

  18. andreweac - Mar 30, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    “Senior administration figures” are routinely used by the New York Times and others.

  19. romo2dez88 - Mar 30, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    “He’s a cancer, cut him immediately!”

    -Signed every single other team in Major League Baseball

  20. recoveringcubsfan - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    This is indeed surprising. I’ve had my say about Puig and it hasn’t been very positive. Nice to hear he’s on the mend, though I don’t really care about him as a person so it’s not very personally revatory, unlike it is, say, for Craig. But, I would like someone to do a timeline just so I can keep it straight: Puig acts like a tool and people call him on it – those people are bitter, white, jack wagons; Puig acts like a tool off the field – his critics are wrong, bitter, haters; Puig gets called out by his manager – his critics are horrid, ignorant, tedious; Puig admits he has a problem/causes problems – his critics are awful, hypocritical, racists; repeat repeat repeat. Or, I suppose the alternate timeline is: nothing wrong with this dude, problem is in your own head. Seems to be a disjuncture here…

    This be one of the funniest narratives in baseball for a few years. Until Puig either becomes an eccentric icon, like Manny, or wraps his car around a tree.

  21. keltictim - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    @ilovegspot, from your handle to your comment you are just a sad little man. It’s a blog and comments breathe deeply and relax.

  22. lostsok - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    I love Puig. And I love that all the other teams hate him. After a decade of irrelevance, it’s sweet to be hated again.

  23. renaado - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    That’s a great idea there Puig! Your certainly headin to a right direction there, Asking veterans for advice is one step closer to success and respect.

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      Hey it worked for Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford asking that seasoned vet, Billy Martin, about evening deportment and so on. And before anyone berates me for ignoring important facts in the “narrative”, yes, I know that both Mickey and Whitey said they were the ones dragging Billy out and getting in hot water.

  24. campcouch - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    How many MLB games has Puig played exactly? Not even a full season. From Cuba to LA and $42 million dollars to be made. It’s a shame that he’s judged like an 8 year vet. What he needs is a mentor, not tough love. I’m sure he’s tasted enough of that growing up. Maybe he does want to improve as a person. it’s not far-fetched that a guy can ask for help. He might realize that talent alone doesn’t mean success and that a larger payday would be available if he did improve. Selfish maybe,but it works out for the Dodgers and Puig in the end.

  25. jkaflagg - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Have to remember the leader of the anti-Puig element is LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, as vanilla a writer of sports cliches as can be found anywhere…Have to wonder if Plaschke is trying pick up a little of the edge of former Times columnist TJ Simers, whose work was wildly erratic but always provoked a reaction…..

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