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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

ESPN: Le Batard: Let’s cut Yasiel Puig some slack

In terms of style, Vladimir Guerrero’s most closely resembled Puig’s. Reckless. Raw. But so overwhelmingly skilled. Guerrero was Puig before Puig, albeit soaked in fear instead of defiance, but he got to make his mistakes pre-Internet, and more quietly in Canada. Guerrero drank from puddles as a child. He had a fifth-grade education because his mother had to put him to work in the fields.

Guerrero’s mother lived with him as a major leaguer because he was so scared of everything new and different and awful outside, and he wanted something, anything, that felt more like home. But you have to wonder how all of that plays out differently, how we and fame would mutate Guerrero, if we had dropped him in Los Angeles and immediately demanded that he star for the city and the country and the sport beginning at 22.

 

thetailor Posted: April 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yasiel puig

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   1. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 08, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4682075)

The criticism of Puig in some corners has been a little over the top, but this article ignores the fact that most, if not all, of Puig's baseball-related problems came with him from Cuba. Almost all of the "culture" stuff is a red herring.
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4682101)
Manny Ramirez, breast-fed until he was 6 years old because of the poverty, once asked his agent -- even after signing a $160 million contract -- whether he could afford a house in Pembroke Pines, Fla., for his parents. His agent turned to him and said, "Manny, you can afford this whole damn neighborhood.


Sorry Manny, but that just makes you, uhh, not very bright shall we say.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4682112)
Manny Ramirez, breast-fed until he was 6 years old because of the poverty, once asked his agent -- even after signing a $160 million contract -- whether he could afford a house in Pembroke Pines, Fla., for his parents. His agent turned to him and said, "Manny, you can afford this whole damn neighborhood.


...at which point Manny purchased the entire neighborhood. It proved unwise. The subsequent crash of the Florida real-estate market threw Ramirez into massive debt, and he knew his next contract must be even more lucrative. Desperate to improve his performance, he remembered the words of a friendly grazing centaur he had met while chasing a butterfly around left field in Arlington one summer day. And now you know...the rest of the story.
   4. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4682124)
I thought this guy proved himself to be a stupid putz when he got his Hall of Fame vote permanently revoked, but this takes the cake. Latinos who grow up poor and suddenly find themselves with a lot of money can't be expected to do things like show up on time? What a freaking insult to all the Latinos in the game who grew up poor, suddenly find themselves with a lot of money, and actually manage to show up to the games on time.
   5. spike Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4682125)
Why cut him some slack when he can be used as a stalking horse for just about every hoary sports-morality trope about grit, hustle, and teamwork ever invented. The articles, they write themselves!
   6. thetailor Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4682126)
Le Batard is treading on dangerous ground yet again, but I really enjoyed hearing the anecdotes about the other players.

It's usefulness in comparing to Puig is questionable, and the broad-brush characterization of Hispanic players is also questionable, but damn if it isn't interesting and downright amazing how sudden and enormous the transition must be for those players.
   7. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4682129)
Puig is the Cuban Bryce Harper, without the jackass micromanaging parents I guess.
   8. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 08, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4682132)
Cutting slack & breast-feeding till age 6? There's a thread for that somewhere around here ...
   9. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 08, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4682142)
Manny being Mammary
   10. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 08, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4682298)
What line of work do you folks have that you put 22 year olds into key positions and it all goes smoothly?

I moved to LA when I was 22 years old after getting my first real job (and received my first real money). I definitely went through a period of questionable lifestyle choices. Who wouldn't.
   11. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 08, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4682319)
When I got my first real paycheck, I drove too fast with Mrs. Puig in the car. That's just a phase people go through.
   12. bookbook Posted: April 08, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4682328)
Bryce Harper? Bryce Harper is the generic, arrogant American Jock who was treated like royalty by his peers (and too many adults) growing up because he was freakishly good at sports. Was Puig king of the Prom?
   13. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 08, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4682330)
Latinos who grow up poor and suddenly find themselves with a lot of money can't be expected to do things like show up on time?
Nice. Rags-to-riches lottery winners burning through sudden wealth and behaving as if they're above the law isn't really a racial thing.
   14. dr. scott Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4682346)
What line of work do you folks have that you put 22 year olds into key positions and it all goes smoothly?


What's App, tumbler, youtube, snapchat, facebook, google, paypal...

notice none of these have much to do with being good at athletics.

   15. thetailor Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4682353)
Nice. Rags-to-riches lottery winners burning through sudden wealth and behaving as if they're above the law isn't really a racial thing.

The article never says that that's a racial thing.
   16. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4682355)
No. JoeyB thinks it is, though.
   17. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4682360)
I think Le Batard misuses "skilled" when he means talented in the excerpt.

I'm most surprised at Puigs poor fundamentals, and it seems like he just gets a little too hyped up at times and forgets where he is in the game, ie score, situation, etc. I wonder if there is a Greg Jackson type coach out there who can work with him to slow the game down by making his decisions simpler. I was super impressed by Greg Jackson when I read this story and had never heard of the guy before reading it.

http://deadspin.com/how-greg-jackson-is-changing-the-parameters-of-coaching-1494496866

I remember my first college wrestling match, and how shocked I was at how poorly I wrestled compared to practice. The adrenaline surge of performing in front of hundreds of spectators made it feel like I was in a fog.

   18. Bhaakon Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4682374)
The article never says that that's a racial thing.


Not racial, no, and not stated explicitly. But it does strongly imply an ethnic/cultural connection. There are nine examples given, and every single one of them is a foreign-born Latino.

I'm sure that there are plenty of US-born players who did something dumb or funny with their first big payday (Ricky Henderson and framing his $1M bonus check instead of cashing it comes to mind), but LeBatard didn't mention any, because he's making a point specifically about Latin American immigrants from poor families.
   19. SteveM. Posted: April 08, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4682377)
Manny Ramirez, breast-fed until he was 6 years old because of the poverty, once asked his agent -- even after signing a $160 million contract -- whether he could afford a house in Pembroke Pines, Fla., for his parents. His agent turned to him and said, "Manny, you can afford this whole damn neighborhood.



Sorry Manny, but that just makes you, uhh, not very bright shall we say.


Is true about the breast feeding? That is kind of creepy.
   20. Bhaakon Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4682406)
Is true about the breast feeding? That is kind of creepy.


I wonder what he thought when watching that one episode of Game of Thrones.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4682412)
Manny Ramirez, breast-fed until he was 6 years old because of the poverty,


Does this violate the laws of thermodynamics? Wouldn't it require more calories to feed the mom to produce the milk than just feeding the kid would?
   22. BDC Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4682420)
Might not have been just his mom - maybe it took a village.
   23. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4682426)
What line of work do you folks have that you put 22 year olds into key positions and it all goes smoothly?


I was a math instructor at a university at age 22 and it went fine. At age 22, somebody has legally been an adult for four years.
   24. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: April 08, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4682429)
math instructor


Shocking. Math instructors are usually the wild ones.
   25. Curse of the Andino Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4682461)
Shocking. Math instructors are usually the wild ones.


Nah, librarians.
   26. Sunday silence Posted: April 08, 2014 at 09:37 PM (#4682473)
I have a question about Puig's hitting ability per se. I saw a graphic I guess in spring training a couple weeks back that said his first 100 AB in MLB he had 44 hits; his second 100 AB: 30 hits, and next 100: another 30 hits.

Is it possible that a lot of Puigs high numbers were produced when he was pretty much an unknown to the rest of the league and once around the parks, pitchers have figured out how to pitch to him? That would make sense that his period of adjustment to the league was different than the average player because he was coming from a league where no one knew him.

Is there anything to this?
   27. bjhanke Posted: April 08, 2014 at 11:46 PM (#4682574)
Sunday - I think there is ALWAYS something to that. Baseball is a game of adjustments; Sophomore Slump is just one example. If you succeed your first year, your opponents will start looking at tape of your play real hard, trying to figure out what you do worst. Then you have to counter-adjust, which takes some time. Sometimes I will keep track of a little-used kid just to see what happens when he finally gets full playing time, and shows up on the opponents' radar. No one ever predicts a "Sophomore" Slump for a player who has been in MLB for 3 or 4 years, even if he's never been a starter. But,just based on the players I've tracked, it does happen, possibly even more often than it does for real rookies. - Brock Hanke
   28. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 09, 2014 at 01:43 AM (#4682619)

What's App, tumbler, youtube, snapchat, facebook, google, paypal...

I was a math instructor at a university at age 22 and it went fine.


Yeah, ok, the nerd batting average is probably higher. Folks with options, not so much.
   29. just plain joe Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4682671)
What line of work do you folks have that you put 22 year olds into key positions and it all goes smoothly?


Many 22 year olds have been in the military for 4 or 5 years. At least some of them have become squad or section leaders by that time, which means they are responsible for 8-10 other people in addition to themselves. Obviously it depends upon the maturity level of the individual, and some of these situations don't work out, but plenty of 22 year olds can handle responsibility just fine.
   30. BDC Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4682688)
Come to think of it, I was an English instructor at a university at 22, not that that lifts me far out of the nerd range.
   31. Howie Menckel Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4682722)

It used to be a running gag years ago with new NHL players from Russia for teammates to tell them that America was such a magical place that you can take as much money as you need, any time you want. These being ATMs and the other players' accounts, of course. But the players had that little exposure to the West, so they fell for it.

would have helped if this guy had included some examples like that as well, not that it's a perfect fit for talking about a second-year player either.
   32. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 09, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4682751)
Our concept of what constitutes an adult has really changed over the last 40-50 years.

And I don't think the article was being racist. If we had some white players in MLB who grew up in Eastern Europe in the Soviet era there might be a parallel, but the fact is the poorest countries of the last several decades aren't generally inhabited by white people - certainly not those that produce baseball players.
   33. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: April 09, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4682826)
Whatsapp has two founders: Jan Koum, 38, and Brian Acton, 42.

Those aren't their jersey numbers.
   34. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 09, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4682857)
Many 22 year olds have been in the military for 4 or 5 years.


But doesn't that kind of illustrate LeBatard's point? That the responsible 22 year olds have been part of some sort of system for a handful of years? And really, don't the jackass types wash out of the military by that time? Granted, I'm not sure that Puig would be anymore responsible these days if he was signed as a 16 year old out of the Dominican or something.

I think the more important part of the article was the bit about Puig loving the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and not necessarily the anecdotes about other Latin players. They are what they are and they add color to the article (and remind people that the transition stinks), but the TMNT thing probably tells you more about Puig than anything else. He's still a little kid. It probably explains why he has done all of that little league stuff around Dodger Stadium because he feels the most comfortable with the kids.
   35. Bhaakon Posted: April 09, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4683462)
They are what they are and they add color to the article (and remind people that the transition stinks), but the TMNT thing probably tells you more about Puig than anything else. He's still a little kid.


It's the 2010's, man. Adults watch cartoons and read comics. As long as he's not a brony, it's not really indicative of anything.
   36. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4683510)
Whatsapp has two founders: Jan Koum, 38, and Brian Acton, 42.

Those aren't their jersey numbers.


Well, obviously, 42 couldn't be Acton's jersey number.
   37. McCoy Posted: April 09, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4683513)
I was running a kitchen, rather well at that, at 21.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4685635)
It's the 2010's, man. Adults watch cartoons and read comics.

I never understood why 12 y.o.'s read comic books, much less adults.
   39. Bhaakon Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4685639)
I never understood why 12 y.o.'s read comic books, much less adults.


Some of them are quite good. Not many, though.
   40. SOLockwood Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4685666)
Many 22 year olds have been in the military for 4 or 5 years. At least some of them have become squad or section leaders by that time, which means they are responsible for 8-10 other people in addition to themselves.


Not to mention those 22 year-olds who have just graduated from ROTC or a military academy, been commissioned as Second Lieutenants / Ensigns, and are now responsible for 20-40 other people in addition to themselves.
   41. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 14, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4685745)
I've never been to Cuba, but I am honestly curious if it is as bad and as primitive as people (Americans) say. I believe Le Batard (who I generally like) is of Cuban heritage but I think the Cubans in Florida, for many reasons, may have a biased/distorted view of what Cuba is like in the 2010s.

As a parallel, I've been living in communist (or "communist") Vietnam for most of the past dozen years and I have to say it bears little resemblance to what I had expected, or to how the former refugees in Westminster/Garden Grove describe it. While there are some limitations on freedom, they're not all that noticeable in day-to-day life. The police and military are not scary. The personification of communism is an inefficient, greedy bureaucrat -- not an oppressive Big Brother. And while there's certainly poverty, people do not seem to be lacking for food options.

The situations are not identical, I'm sure. Vietnam has been embargo-free since 1994, "Western" media (via movies and cable TV) is plentiful, and the Internet is widely accessible with only limited (and often ineffective) blocks. Plus, Vietnam has officially embraced friendship with the capitalist world for the past 20 years. I assume this is not the case in Cuba. But I wonder if it's really as bad as Le Batard says. Does anyone have first-hand experience?
   42. Sunday silence Posted: April 14, 2014 at 02:36 AM (#4685755)
MEMO TO BTF PRIMATES:

Your own personal experience may not be the same as everyone elses.
   43. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: April 14, 2014 at 03:15 AM (#4685758)
But it is more important, right?
   44. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 14, 2014 at 04:59 AM (#4685764)
MEMO TO BTF PRIMATES:

Your own personal experience may not be the same as everyone elses.


That's not what I've found.
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 14, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4685781)
What precisely is being debated here? That some 20 year olds are smarter and more mature than other 20 year olds? Because that seems...obvious? Of course, the subset of 20 year old men who self-select into professional baseball careers may skew toward the less mature range. Or they may just be stupid. CF that "On Jeff Ears" video...
   46. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 14, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4685782)

The situations are not identical, I'm sure. Vietnam has been embargo-free since 1994, "Western" media (via movies and cable TV) is plentiful, and the Internet is widely accessible with only limited (and often ineffective) blocks. Plus, Vietnam has officially embraced friendship with the capitalist world for the past 20 years. I assume this is not the case in Cuba. But I wonder if it's really as bad as Le Batard says. Does anyone have first-hand experience?


My father was born there and left in 1961. We still have family there and I have been there once (1994). My father has been back several times since then and it is in very rough shape. When my father last went (2010-2011) he said it was the worst he had seen it since our initial trip in '94. Access to even very basic amenities is a challenge. There are rolling blackouts, hot water for showers etc...is more hope than expectation and medication, glasses, things like that can be a real challenge.

It is a stunningly beautiful country. I still remember standing up to my neck in the water and being able to see my feet the water was so clear and in the countryside every time we drove around a bend we emerged to a postcard beautiful view. But the structures are crumbling and with very few exceptions the people are having to struggle greatly. The experience you would get in a hotel or a resort is not even remotely close to what the man on the street experiences.
   47. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4685858)
Thanks, Jose. I would like to visit sometime.

In Vietnam, even in the big cities, we still have relatively frequent power outages (every month or two the power will go out for a while) and it's still pretty rare, at least in the south, to have in-home hot water -- but it's also pretty rare that anyone in the south wants to take a hot shower. But overall, it's a pretty livable, comfortable place.
   48. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4685908)
What the hell is a Whatsapp?

*shakes fist at sky*
   49. Greg K Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4685923)
Our concept of what constitutes an adult has really changed over the last 40-50 years.

Like most things in our culture I think the rate of change has become faster and faster in recent generations, but throughout history I think what constituted and adult and what constituted a youth has been more fluid than static.

Seeing as my tangent into the lives of women in the 17th century seemed to have ended a thread earlier this week I'll resist the urge to discuss how much our concept of what constitutes an adult has changed over the last 400-500 years. Though I will say, for those interested and with JSTOR access, there will be a fascinating article on how the malleable line between youth and adulthood could be used as a political weapon in 17th century England coming up in the June issue of The Historical Journal.

I promise this first published article will be the only one I mercilessly self-promote here!
   50. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4685926)
It is a stunningly beautiful country. I still remember standing up to my neck in the water and being able to see my feet the water was so clear and in the countryside every time we drove around a bend we emerged to a postcard beautiful view. But the structures are crumbling and with very few exceptions the people are having to struggle greatly. The experience you would get in a hotel or a resort is not even remotely close to what the man on the street experiences.


That sort of sounds like my wife's experience visiting the Dominican Republic. Her grandfather worked for the state department and was generally regarded as royalty and even when my wife visited in the late 90s, her grandpa was still treated wonderfully. Folks at the airports saw his name and they got to pass through customs with zero problems. My FIL grew up in a world that even his older brothers could have never imagined. They grew up as blue collar police kids, while my FIL grew up with servants in the DR and he lived around the corner from Marichal and other famous DR ballplayers.

//for the most part, my FIL doesn't care about baseball. I'm still trying to get him to go during our Thanksgiving break one year to see the DR winter league in action. It would probably be a highlight of my life.
   51. Run, Mookie, Run Posted: April 14, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4686109)
Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers

Finally, in June 2012, the 21-year-old outfielder left his home in Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s southern shore, and set off by car for the northern province of Matanzas, just 90 miles from Florida. He was traveling with three companions: a boxer, a pinup girl, and a Santeria priest, the latter of whom blessed their expedition with a splash of rum and a sprinkle of chicken blood.
...
"I don’t know if you could call it a kidnapping, because we had gone there voluntarily, but we also weren’t free to leave," said the boxer, Yunior Despaigne, who had known Puig from Cuba’s youth sports academies. "If they didn’t receive the money, they were saying that at any moment they might give him a machetazo"--a whack with a machete--"chop off an arm, a finger, whatever, and he would never play baseball again, not for anyone."
   52. bfan Posted: April 14, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4686145)
With 4 decent/could be very good OFs and a 5th in AAA, tearing it up, they have to move someone of that group, don't they?

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