Jason Foster over at The Sporting News recently released a list that had to do with “The 11 most-hated MLB players of the 21st century, ranked.” Some interesting names were on that list, but there was also a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers who happened to appear on it — Yasiel Puig.
The other ten names that appeared on the list were Carlos Gomez, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and, of course, John Rocker. But it’s Puig’s that has us a little curious, and the reasoning is interesting.
Yasiel Puig is another player whose flash gets under some people’s skin. Factor in that he’s often accused of not hustling and that he’s made his share of bonehead mistakes on the field, and that’s a formula for growing a nice base of haters. But as with Carlos Gomez, the hate for Puig usually depends on your view of “respecting the game,” a catch-all saying that some people use to justify why certain players — often Latinos — deserve harsh criticism. But if a lot of these folks were being honest, they probably wouldn’t mind having Puig on their favorite team.
Foster isn’t exactly wrong here in saying that both Puig and Gomez are often seen as disrespecting the game because of the way in which they play. They both try to have fun, they both bat flip, and people hate them for the nonchalant way that they appear to carry themselves when on the field.
Does that justify Puig being one of the century’s most hated players? Probably not, but it makes some sense here because of the fact that Gomez is also on the list. He’s certainly not as bad as someone like John Rocker. Then again, almost no one is as bad as Rocker. That seems impossible.
Puig gets a lot of backlash because of the way that he carries himself, but Foster hits the nail on the head at the end by saying that a lot of people would still take him on their favorite team. And why wouldn’t they? He’s a fantastic player that is still youthful. Puig is fun, and fun is hated right now.