Yasiel Puig finds himself in the news and, again, it’s for reasons that will only further his criticism.
Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller wrote an excoriating article on Puig, heavy in anonymous sources piling on criticism as teammates try to defend him.
One quote in particular will raise eyebrows, though.
“He is the worst person I’ve ever seen in this game,” one ex-Dodger who believes Puig is beyond redemption said flatly. “Ever.”
Anonymous sources tend to be lost on me, even though they’re obviously a huge and irreplaceable part of this industry. The issue is just that they can kind of say whatever they want with zero implications.
Think of Twitter, where @DodgersRulesSoAndSoGoBlue (not an actual account, obviously) can tell me to go eff myself for relaying messages they disagree with. Without that anonymity, I highly doubt such bravery would take place. Just as I highly doubt whoever called Yasiel Puig the worst person in baseball would do so if their own name was attached to it.
Two other voices spoke rather loudly about Puig in the article from the perspective of teammates who care not only about the welfare of the team but also for their teammate: Adrian Gonzalez and A.J. Ellis. They did so with their names attached to it, which lends a little more credence to what they had to say, in my opinion.
Here’s Gonzalez on Puig, again, from the article titled “Is There Anybody Left in Los Angeles Whom Yasiel Puig Hasn’t Alienated?”
“When I talk to him heart to heart, he explains to me that he wants to be the best he can be. Growing up, sometimes it takes awhile to break bad habits.”
Sounds like the question you raise was answered for you, Scott. There’s also this, from A.J. Ellis:
“Adrian has more insight into him than anybody,” Ellis said. “Adrian has done a great job. I give Adrian a ton of credit for showing him unconditional love and support. Adrian, you can see he’s the one guy who can correct and be stern with Yasiel and not get the reaction someone else gets.”
In sports, we’ve somehow wound up in a place where nuance is frowned upon. Despite the several highly insightful quotes Miller gets from both Ellis and Gonzalez — widely considered leaders in the clubhouse — he continues to write what feels a lot like a hit piece on Puig.
Despite what Miller and columnists like him try to make us think with articles like this (that the world is painted in black and white), we live in the shades of gray.
Is Puig highly polarizing both in and out of the clubhouse? Of course he is. Does he have a long ways to go in the maturity process? Of course he does.
Does that make him the worst person in baseball? No. Not even remotely so. It just means he’s a 25-year-old who’s been in a brand new country for only three of those years and is continuing (hopefully) to figure out how to cope with being famous while also being professional.
I was a complete moron at 25. Shoot, my wife and several others in my life would tell you I remain a complete moron. And the best part? They wouldn’t do so anonymously.NEXT: Making Sense of The Aroldis Chapman Ordeal