Here is CBS's Scott Miller, overtly injecting the cultural stereotyping that's lain just beneath the surface of the "hot-blooded Latino" Yasiel Puig reprimands that have shitted up the internet this week:
The Dodgers go home for the winter. Their fans are left hugging only their chipped and faded 1988 World Series champions coffee mugs.
And Puig jets off to join a South Beach conga line for the winter. Party on!
The common thread running between all these "bench Puig for the sake of the Dodgers" columns is the idea that Puig is stubborn—he doesn't want to fix the holes in his game, like skipping cutoff men or pressing for an extra base—and needs an authority figure to rein him in. Conversely, Bryce Harper is still learning, and it'd be foolish to try and stanch his passion.
Here's Miller on Harper just a few months back:
So before you further develop any crazy ideas that Harper should slow down, wise up, throttle back and move forward more cautiously, just stop. No, he shouldn't...Dial down the gas knob on the fire within, next thing you know, the pilot light starts flickering. And Bryce Harper no longer is Bryce Harper.)
So what's the difference between Harper and Puig, if not their countries of birth? Excellent question.
Jon Morosi started this mess by claiming that Puig—with his 3.7 bWAR in 69 games—is more of a liability to the Dodgers than an asset. Bill Plaschke followed up, after Puig was benched only to hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run, arguing that the Dodgers didn't do enough to put him in his place. (Actual sentence: "Mattingly showed that he's unwilling to possibly sacrifice a victory to finish the lecture." This is somehow a criticism of Don Mattingly.)
But this Miller column, I don't even have the heart to Fisk it. Let it speak for itself.
Talk about win-win and no-win converging at the corner of Chavez and Ravine.
So far, Puig doesn't appear to be much for school. Or lessons.
Biggest question this season now is this: Can the Dodgers eke a Kirk Gibson moment out of Puig this October before they get a Frankenstein moment?
This Tasmanian Devil of a player has mesmerized a community and captivated a baseball nation. He is Must-See TV, one of the game's most exciting talents. What Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were last year, Puig, to some degree, is this year.
Yet this late-night carousing, cutoff-man missing, curfew busting phenom borders on going berserk-o out of control. Did you see the tantrum he directed at plate ump John Hirschbeck after striking out Monday in Miami? Holy smokes.
This might be the first time someone has used the word "carousing" without irony since the 1950s.
For the record, Puig's plate discipline—at least as measured by his BB/K ratio—has improved every month he's been a major leaguer. He's 22. He's learning, just like Bryce Harper, and yes, Mike Trout. But there hasn't yet been an athlete, or a human, who learned more from being sent to the time-out corner than from experience.
So, if you'd like to read a good column about Yasiel Puig, one that realizes he's not the first baseball player in history to deal with overconfidence, try this, from Yahoo's Tim Brown, on for size. Or just keep getting mad that Yasiel Puig isn't David Eckstein.