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Video: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Yasiel Puig

Aug 5, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Yasiel Puig does this so often. In the space of a couple of innings showing us everything that’s wonderful about him and showing us everything that he still has to learn.

Watch as, first, he fires a missile back to first base, nearly picking off Erick Aybar who had strayed too far off the bag on a fly to center. That’s what’s great. His aggressiveness and that arm which, occasionally, is going to make someone pay.

Then watch as he takes a mental break on another fly ball, allowing an alert and savvy Albert Pujols to tag up from first and go to second right in front of him despite the fact that he has walked and ran like Fred Sanford for about three or four years now.

Bonus: the Dikembe Mutumbo-style finger wag from Puig on the good play, and the “you got a lot to learn, son” head shaking from Pujols on the latter play. And of course, Vin Scully being on hand to describe it all.

  1. jarathen - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Love it. Great baseball and a great local rivalry. The best thing about interleague play for me has been letting the Angels and Dodgers duke it out during the season, with games that matter. Also the Angels going hard into red, so it’s a nice, straightforward, red team vs. blue team.

  2. cincinata - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    PUIG: The New Face of Baseball

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      “The new face of baseball.” Lol!

      The face of baseball has is head in the game…always.

      How about…one of (if not THE) most exciting players in baseball?
      A far more accurate fit and this juncture.

  3. norvturnersneck - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Haha, funny stuff

  4. yahmule - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I enjoyed seeing Albert playing heads up baseball and also having fun out there. Yasiel almost wanted to smile after that play, but quickly realized it would only earn him extra criticism.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      He was always a smart runner. One year with the Cards, he stole a dozen bases. He knows what he can do, and what he can’t, generally, on the bags.

      • infieldhit - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Not this season. Particularly during his cold stretches at the plate, as if he were trying to force the issue as far as getting extra-base hits.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        I will admit that he’s had a few dumb ones this year. I hope he’s cutting that out.

      • jarathen - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        If Pujols plays well enouhg, we’re talking .270+, he seems to relax and do fine, like a really overpriced but productive Tim Salmon. When he struggles, he just starts forcing everything, gets petulant, and makes Angels fans cry.

  5. norcaldeportes - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    So the ecstasy of Puig was throwing behind a guy who’s not hustling because he didn’t need to, still not getting him out by 4 feet, and then wagging his finger at him. We must have different definitions of ecstasy.

    • roundballsquarebox24 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Watch the play, these guys are just having fun. Aybar smiles at him and wags his own finger at Puig, as if to say “you’re not doubling ME up by throwing behind me, buddy!”. Puig then wags his finger as well as if to say “you’re not straying too far off the bag when I’M throwing, or you’re gonna pay, buddy!”. It’s all fun. Then, Pujols catches him napping and nods at him. These guys all know how to enjoy the game without feeling “shown up” every time an opponent shows some emotion other than buttoned-down stoicism on the field.

      But, I will admit that when I read the headline about Puig’s “ecstacy” I was expecting to see him make some insane play. But, I guess that is what makes guys like Puig the type of players that they are. Attempting to make plays that they seemingly have absolutely no chance at making, risking an error, but many times they make those plays (See Bryce Harper throwing behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia FROM LEFT FIELD as he rounded first a week or two ago, and he actually got him!)

  6. Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    This kind of stuff is just fantastic. I love seeing some personality and fun being had on the field and opponents enjoying playing against each other. This is the anti-you-are-trying-to-show-me-up paradigm….in which players have fun instead of getting their boxers in a twist.

    Pujols looked pretty spry on that sprint to 2B. Everyone runs like Fred Sanford (or don’t run at all) with a badly torn plantar fascia.

  7. Detroit Michael - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Terrific video. Worth watching the whole thing to get the entire sequence.

  8. rcali - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Best athlete on the team, plays harder than anyone on the team, makes more plays than anyone on the team. I’ll take the mental lapses from time to time. Dodgers are filled with overpaid pretty boys.

  9. mlbfan8898 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Glad to see Pujols making fun of Puig for being the idiot that he is.

    • infieldhit - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Yes, but even as an Angels fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pujols got thrown out trying to go for an extra base, allowing Puig to make fun of Pujols’s waddling.

      He seemed indignant at Puig’s absent-mindedness, but he hasn’t exactly been in the clear himself in terms of baseball smarts.

  10. chinahand11 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    I liked the last comment by Skully: Pujols took him to school.

  11. hojo20 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    I’m thinking on the third clip, Puig wanted Pujols to run home so he can gun him out.

  12. rollinghighwayblues - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Was I the only surprised by how fast Albert busted it on the tag? (serious)

    • roundballsquarebox24 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Due to recent performances people have left Albert for dead, but he’s coming around. He has been seriously injured and has not had his legs underneath him. A guy like Albert doesn’t just slap the ball the other way, he NEEDS his legs to be strong for him to drive the ball (and of course do what he did in this video). He’s still (relatively) young, and can be a pretty good player for several more years. Of course, we all judge him based on his contract, which he will never be able to live up to. But, if he can stay healthy I think that Pujols can be a pretty good thump in that lineup for years to come. Never the guy that he was for 10 years, but a pretty reliable bat, who may move to full-time DH at some point in the future.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        He’s still at the edge of the top 10 in the league in HRs and RBIs this year. Still a fair amount to like, even if he’s not totally living up to that contract, yes.

      • bfunk1978 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Yeah I’m very happy for Pujols and while he’s not – like you said – living up to it exactly, he’s having a good year and people in Anaheim are getting a glimpse of what they really got. I still wear my Cardinals Pujols #5 shirseys and I don’t even feel bad about it.

  13. huddlma - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Lackadaisical plays happen daily in this game yet Puig’s are highlighted on the front page. He’s shown tremendous improvement this season.

    • yahmule - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      They don’t boo nobodies.

      • jburk003 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Really?

        How about A-rod????

        Sounds like a nobody to me (at least the past 6 years)

  14. jburk003 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Albert: 1
    Puig: 0

    SOOOO funny Puig tries to “dare” Albert to run on basically an infield pop up. Way to show your intelligence Yasiel….

  15. sisisisisisisi - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Juvenile

  16. kingme30 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    I am starting to get the feeling that Puig is just kind of dumb….

  17. infieldhit - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Funny thing is, you know the Angels were looking to take advantage of Puig like this, but they were up 5-0 in the first of what’s basically a 4-gm series. I wonder if they should’ve waited until a closer situation, because Puig likely won’t make this particular blunder again vs the Angels.

  18. sfm073 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    If he overthrows first it’s a terrible play. It wasn’t like Aybar had rounded 2nd. Nothing’s wrong with being aggressive, but that throw was more of a look at me throw.

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