So what’s more important? Teaching Yasiel Puig a lesson? Or winning a ball game? For me, the most important thing is winning a ball game, but I’m not the manager. I understand why Don Mattingly benched him. He had too. If anyone had been late to batting practice, Mattingly would have done the same to them.
This is what everyone has been chirping about for the last couple of years now. The Dodger’s high priced talents, and egos in the clubhouse. The question had always been, could Mattingly control all of these high dollar egos?
Mattingly so far has done a great job of controlling the clubhouse. We’ve never heard of any kind of dissention, or clubhouse chemistry issues. Most of the time, everyone gets along, and this is actually unusual amounts of drama for the Dodgers.
Puig apologized to his teammates for being late before the club’s home opener, and reportedly seemed very humble about the whole situation. He knows he made a mistake, and hopefully won’t do it again. Don’t get me wrong here, Puig messed up. He knows it. Being late to batting practice isn’t acceptable.
The problem is, when he’s not in the lineup, the club is considerably weaker. But let’s not pretend like he committed a crime here. People are chastising Puig like he’s some monster or something. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m sorry but it isn’t. So many other players have done so much worse.
I already told you about Pascual Perez, who got lost on the way to the ball park on a day where was supposed to start, and arrived ten minutes late to the game. Puig just arrived late to batting practice, he still showed up three hours before first pitch. Can you imagine the crapstorm if he had showed up after first pitch?
Or what about Dick Allen? The big outfielder/first baseman who refused to take batting practice. Yeah this guy thought that batting practice tired him out before games or something. So he would sit in the stands and watch his teammates taking BP. Yeah try benching that guy and see what happens. You think Mattingly has his hands full now? Walter Alston had his hands full in 1971 with Allen.
Or how about jerky comments from guys like Kevin Brown, Jeff Kent, and Joe Blanton? Or what about the time when Eric Davis, and Daryl Strawberry were throwing firecrackers out of their car in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, and injured several people in the process. Still think Puig is bad?
Or how about Manny Ramirez? What about all of the stupid stuff that Manny used to do?
Puig is a saint compared to those guys. Yes Puig has done a few dumb things. But are they really enough to chastise the guy? I’m not saying he hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s gotten in trouble with some reckless driving charges, and he’s been scrutinized for some showboating. How many times has he been late to batting practice before? Once. If you remember last year in a series at Miami, he was late, and Mattingly reprimanded him in the same way. He was benched.
These are common things for a 23-year old kid from anywhere to do. Puig has never been to a Dodger Stadium season opener before. Everything is still a learning experience for him. Driving too fast, showing up late, mouthing off, those are all things young kids do. I’m not saying it’s acceptable to do those things. It isn’t, I’m just saying let’s not be surprised when the young rookie 23-year old phenom, acts like a 23-year old kid, who’s never been here before.
But this kind of thing can’t happen again. Ever. I hope Puig has learned his lesson. Something tells me that he will have a few more lessons to learn over the course of his long and successful career. He’s a good kid. he’s not a villain.
So I still believe that benching Puig is not going to accomplish anything. So what’s more important to you? Teaching Puig a lesson? Or winning a ball game? For me, winning is more important. I want the Dodgers to win, and when Puig is in the lineup the Dodgers have a better chance of winning.
Look at it this way, I’m sure we’ll all laugh about this on our way to the World Series.