The Dodgers got back into the NLCS series with a win over the Cardinals thanks in large part to a big triple by Yasiel Puig. But it was Puig's reaction during and after the triple that once again has fans and some in baseball screaming foul (see GIFs below).
Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, the player who fielded the ball in right field, was one player who was outspoken after the game (via ESPN.com):
"As a player, I just think he doesn't know [about how to act]...That's what I think. He really doesn't know. He must think that he's still playing somewhere else...He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that — great ability, great talent. I think with time, he'll learn that you've got to act with a little bit more calm."
This has been a common criticism of the exuberant Puig all season. But if the traditional (i.e. fun is bad) faction of baseball gets its way, it is the worst thing that could possibly happen to the sport.
For the first time in a while, Major League Baseball has a surge of young superstars who will attract more fans to the sport. You can make a case that 2-3 years ago, the only true superstar left in the sport, a player who even non-baseball fans reacted to, was Derek Jeter. He's in his late 30s.
But now baseball has guys like Puig and Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. These are the players who will resonate with young fans and young fans want to see things like this bat flip...
In this case, the ball wasn't a home run, so maybe it wasn't the smartest move ever. But Puig still got a triple out of the play and Major League Baseball got a highlight worth watching and talking about.
There was also concern that Puig over-celebrated at third base...
The Cardinals just gave up a big hit. The last thing they should be worried about is whether or not Puig over-celebrated a big hit in a big game.
Sports are supposed to be fun and if baseball is going to compete for viewers with football and basketball, it needs more Yasiel Puigs, not fewer.
So let's hope Puig ignores the critics and continues to have fun.
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