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Dodgers: Bill Plaschke Still Sniping At Yasiel Puig

Over the weekend a clip of LA Times journalist Bill Plaschke made the rounds on social media due to his disdain for two players who no longer play for the Dodgers.

Some Background

Anyone familiar with the Dodgers the last few seasons has been aware of the displeasure Bill Plaschke has for Yasiel. The particular examples could fill up an entire newspaper full of column inches, but here are just a few.

  1. Plaschke wrote an entire article insinuating that Yasiel Puig’s very presence could bring violence to the Dodgers organization. This was because Yasiel Puig had been help captive by a smuggler operation. He even went as far as irresponsibly implying that Yasiel Puig was responsible for a man’s murder.
  2. Constantly berating Yasiel Puig for base-running mistakes, throwing errors, or any lapse in judgment. Other players were left without criticism. He once blamed Yasiel Puig for reacting to Madison Bumgarner plunking him. Pretty wild stretch to blame the player who got hit, for reacting angrily.
  3. My favorite one is this one. After getting a water bath during a clubhouse celebration, Bill Plaschke went on to say he was afraid for his health, even his life. He brought up dubious urban legends of people dying hours after being doused with cold water. He was terrified of contracting pneumonia (which you can’t get by getting wet.) None of this is hyperbole, in fact the audio is on this video linked here. The graphics that go along with the video are worth watching as well.

There are more examples of this, but for the sake of brevity I didn’t enumerate them.

Plaschke’s Point

Between Molly Knight’s The Best Team Money Can Buy that was released in 2015, and the stories that are invariably thrown around about the clubhouse, Yasiel Puig has been mentioned more than once as an issue in the clubhouse. Zack Greinke didn’t like Yasiel, and supposedly neither did Clayton Kershaw. There have been at least a few players who didn’t get along with Yasiel, it seems. So much of this is hearsay and rumor–but you do have to lend it some weight when you hear Yasiel Puig’s comments, and the occasional issues he had with Dave Roberts. For anyone looking to defend Bill Plaschke, that’s probably where their arguments are going to come from. As for Matt Kemp being tied into it in Bill Plaschke’s video there, I’m not sure what you can point to other than some rather insidious intentions…

What This Writer Thinks

Let’s grant a premise for the sake of argument. Let’s say Yasiel Puig was an absolute clubhouse cancer, and mysteriously, so was Matt Kemp, even though there are no written examples of this. Even if all that was true — this video of Bill Plaschke still dunking on Puig and Kemp is blatantly unprofessional. They’re no longer Dodgers. There was absolutely no reason for him to preface his statement by calling out Matt and Yasiel.  Celebrating their departure with such glee is what people on twitter with no photo and a bunch of numbers in their user name, do. Celebrating Yasiel Puig’s departure after he’s departed the Dodgers is absolutely unprofessional, and not what anyone should expect to see from a professional journalist for a high profile newspaper. Bill Plaschke’s behavior towards Yasiel Puig has been way more unprofessional than anything he has accused Yasiel Puig of doing. Bill Plaschke should certainly be ashamed of himself.

A few years ago, Bill Plaschke took a lot of criticism for his criticism of Olympic All-Around champion, Gabby Douglas. The article lede, “Gabby Douglas Slouches Into Controversy” along with what he wrote in the piece, was widely criticized and labeled to be coded racism. I don’t know what Bill Plaschke’s intentions were. I know that the worst kind prejudice isn’t usually demonstrative and obvious–it’s subtle. It’s subtle but equally insidious. Bill Plaschke using words in that video to describe A.J. Pollock and Joe Kelly as “calmer, more business-like” after celebrating that Puig and Kemp have left is at very best problematic. At worst, it’s downright toxic. At worst, it’s racism that’s been veiled.

Final Thoughts

People can (and will definitely) disagree with my opinion on Bill Plaschke. What I implore people to really look at is Plaschke’s track record with these issues. More so, his lack of professionalism in talking about two players who no longer play for a team he covers. Those two points I think are hard to see in a different context, and we should show at least some amount of concern with regards to the man’s impartiality. Who will draw Mr. Plaschke’s ire next?

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Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

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  1. Long ago stopped paying any attention to anything Plaschke said or wrote; and, it had nothing to do with Puig. Consider the source and move on.

  2. When all else fails , use racism . What a joke ! Puig was a bad fit and a baby in any color .

    • I didn’t use any racism, Plaschke has. Yasiel Puig actually grew and matured in his time as a Dodger. I didn’t include that because the article was running long, but his maturity had grown a lot. Plaschke’s did not. Consider looking a little deeper at situations. Even if you didn’t enjoy Yasiel Puig in Dodger blue, Plaschke’s problematic actions still happened.

      • Plaschke is a pillar to the community he’s there to spill truth not hold back because of “professionalism”

      • Really; Puig matured? My observations, he was the same egotistical, moody, self-centered player as ever — continuing to disregard fundamentals to help the team win so he could play as he wanted. A horrible waste of God given talent. “The last couple of years, I didn’t work hard because I still have a contract to go,” Puig said. “Now, I think work harder than any year of my life.” In his own words, Puig sums up his attitude quite nicely.

        • Puig’s saying how he really didn’t work hard the last few years because he still had a contract to go makes me very glad he is with the reds now. BTW, I hope all is well for you and yours SoCal.

      • Funny how certain types of people never want to hear the ‘r’ word thrown around. One guess as which type?

        Plaschke’s seemingly bottomless contempt for Puig derives from his prejudices. Does anyone think Puig’s skin color had 0 to do with the media’s hard on for highlighting any and every one of his shortcomings over the years? Show me the articles consistently condemning players whose attitudes and actions are objectively worse than anything Puig has done? Bryce Harper snaps bats, argues with umps, and bat flips a homerun against his opposing team? Meh, he is a gamer. Chris Sale literally destroys his own team’s throw back jerseys right on game day? He just cares too much about winning. Hader tweeted vile racist opinions about 5 years ago? He was just a kid, and that slider though! Puig doesn’t even play for dodgers anymore and he had audacity to what? Promise his new team he is going to be better for them? OMG raise the alarms! He got cocky 5+ years ago during his debut? Never forgive!! Never forget! He must carry it with him for his entire career!

        Puig warranted parts of his early negative perception (mostly due to culture shock he was forced to undergo way too early in his MLB career due to having to help bail Dodgers out of a free-falling season), but only the blind (and… ahem, other) can look at his last 2 years and see that he was anything but a good teammate and all around good ball player.

        I respect you at least raising a question about Plaschke’s possible motives, and holding him accountable due to his relatively large media presence. I don’t understand why it is such a lightning rod to call out people’s behaviors as racist/prejudiced. It doesn’t invalidate all criticism against Puig, or mark those who have legit reasons to dislike his play style as also ascribing to said negative ideologies, yet people get up in arms over the mere idea that…. *gasp!!!* Racism still exists?!

        Anyways, thanks for the article AJ. We should never shy away from open dialogue and discourse. For being obviously Dodger biased, Dodgers nation reporting has consistently outperformed anything the LA Times publishes.

        *It case it wasn’t clear, I definitely am calling out Plashcke out as racist. I most assuredly could be wrong on that (due to my own prejudices), but to deny the possibly is just cowardly (or foolish if you think Puig’s skin color had nothing to do with Plashcke systematic targeting of a ball player).

      • Why would you give so much effort in writing about Plaske? Are you going to submit this to a Cincinnati news venue or something? It is not Dodger stuff. As far as I see it the Dodgers helped Puig in his early struggles to get over here, then giving him a good contract to boot. Even when Puig struggled and didn’t get along they supported him and did their best to get him a decent amount of play time even though his effort lacked. Now, what does he do?… Completly puts down the organization by saying he never tried and the Dodgers didn’t get anything back to help in the trade. What’s he think he’s GM material now? The things Plascke wrote were due to Puig not being a professional and even thanking the organization for what they have done to get him his start in Baseball. Plashke can talk about him negatively all he wants. I am for that. Bad take all the way. A bunch of stuff is in the comments about racist and junk that makes no sense.

    • Firmly disagree……..Gonzalez is reaching, yes………but Plaschke is a childish douche and it would not surprise me one bit if some of his dislike stems from racial viewpoints. He has to hide those feelings from the public because of what he does to make his living. Puig is not everyone’s cup of tea (insert Greinke here), I get it, but he was certainly a talented player who helped the Dodgers WIN. Plaschke still talking trash after Kemp and Puig are long gone tells you everything you need to know about how unprofessional he is.

      • I accept the thought that I am painting a picture that “may” not be all the way there, but would you honestly be surprised if it was? I appreciate the feedback! Thank you.

        • Funny how you are open to the possibility of being wrong on Plashcke (you are not), but even the possibility that Plashcke’s writing are based on his racism is met with a firm “woah woah, let’s not jump to conclusions…”

          Your three examples of non baseball play related criticism are top notch by the way. That being said, I doubt you had to work all that hard to find examples lol.

      • Hello bluz1st. Since I live in Southern Oregon and don’t really read anything of what Plaschke writes I am OK with just ignoring what he is trying to gt across. Obviously Plaschke has ‘issues’ and those issues are his alone to deal with really, nobody else’s. But again, Puig is gone now and all of us should just move on from him.

    • I don’t really care for Plaschke’s general writing because he often exaggerates and skews things. He once claimed the Angel organization and even their stadium (!) were better than the Dodgers’. Wth? He DOES write very good human interest stories, like Dodger employees battling cancer or some other heartache.
      However, to accuse someone of racism is too easily done today, and it is not responsible.

      People throw the “r” word around freely in an effort to marginalize and quiet other people they don’t agree with. Be careful. That is not right. Puig has had a six-year long history of questionable (and repeated) moves both on and off the field–showing up late on Opening Day one year, not learning to hit the cutoff man (which helped them lose Game 1 against Boston last year), and a host of other things. These are documented. To say that praising two (white) players who play the game “seriously” suggests racism from the writer is not fair.

      Almost all of the players on the Dodgers this year are white! I am sure you have noticed. I sure did–and quickly, as the roster took shape. Plaschke praised two of the them. There is hardly anyone else left to praise!
      I am surprised that I have not yet seen someone point that out yet and wonder about racism. And this is the Dodgers, with their dignified and proud history with Jackie Robinson. I am sure there is someone out there that would question it, despite that history.

      That being said, I usually groan when I see Plaschke. Disagree with him. I often do. But be careful charging racism.

      • Puig’s growth as a player and person are discounted because of his long history of behavior… yet Plashcke’s long history of aggressively and egregiously targeting him warrant “being careful” of calling him out for being racist? Slightly different rules for the two huh?
        AJ even points to 3 examples that have nothing to do with how he plays the game (his past trying dealing with smugglers, being upset at Bumgarner plunking him, and throwing water on Plashcke during an after game celebration) and how Puig was still vilified are completely disregarded.
        AJ didn’t even criticize Plashcke’s comments about his many errors on the field and the large learning curve he had to go through. Yet, the minute it is proposed that maybe… possibly…. racism exists in today’s day and age…. “NOPE NOPE, let’s not go there!”

        If Plashcke’s behavior can possibly have nothing to do with his prejudices, isn’t it just as likely it can be do to it? Why is one possibility given the benefit of the doubt while the other “should be handled with kid gloves”.

        • Where was it denied that racism still exists? Of course it does. Your answer validates my point that anyone who disagrees with a viewpoint HAS to be a racist. And you claimed that more than once. Could there be other reasons that someone doesn’t agree with you? Yes.

          I think Plaschke is an ass. And he very well might have racist views. And no, it would not surprise me. But without more evidence, it is speculation.

          • I think article provided plenty of evidence and examples of Plashcke’s criticisms that have nothing to do with the game and have a clear personal agenda. What more evidence to you need, Plashcke to call himself racist?

            What will it take to allow us to stop “speculating” and “being careful” about his motivations? Do the 3 non-baseball related articles about Puig brought up by author not count? What about Plashcke’s derogatory article on Gabby Douglas? How about calling out 2 minority players who are no longer on team and propping up 2 white players for being more business-like and professional, despite the fact that Kelly is well known as a goofball and who has been suspended from games for various reasons?

            All the defense given to Plashcke is ridiculous, and clearly has nothing to do with the man himself (general consensus here is he sucks), but rather the idea that someone can justifiably be called racist without them having to be blatantly so.

  3. I stopped buying and reading the L.A. Times because of Bill Plaschke! He never played the game but seems to know what is best for the team. Fact is Puig and Kemp brought “gusto” to the Dodgers and unpredictable is always exciting! Bill Plaschke is a hater and if ever heard him speak on “ESPN, Around the Horn,” the only trash that comes out of him mouth is “NEGATIVITY!” Stopped watching that show also!

  4. To conclude here, Puig is now with the Reds, as is Kemp so we should not spend any more time rehashing much about their tenure here as a member of Dodgers. Let’s just all move on, especially from Puig, after he began his attacks on Dodgers prior to the beginning of this season.

  5. Puig was A joy to watch play. He had alot of great moments with the Dodgers. He ll be missed. Truly great athleth. BILLS an old tool. His opinion means nothing. He should go get A job in the South he doesn’t represent LA.

  6. I think the article makes some valid points, but is far too accusatory. As a white man, I find the word “racist” to be as cutting and dehumanizing as the “N” word and other epithets slung around ignorantly to marginalize. I can’t think of anything that would offend me more than being called racist. So please, before resorting to insinuating racism, make sure you have a mountain of evidence, and never speculate. I don’t care for Plaschke’s work, but to undertake the massive leap necessary to dub him racist is uncalled for and inappropriate.

    • Well said. And where is the evidence? Mr. Gonzalez supposedly invites “discussion” at the end of his article. Yet anyone who does not concur with his claims is branded a racist. What a set-up. It is b.s.
      Anyone who concludes something is racist is automatically assumed correct. Someone who doesn’t agree (for whatever reason) is accused of being racist, also. Irrational? Hysterical? Yes

      • Where is the evidence? Did you read article?
        3 articles bashing Puig for non-baseball related offenses?
        A derogatory article about a Gabby Douglas?
        How about calling out 2 minority players who are no longer on team and propping up 2 white players for being more business-like and professional, despite the fact that Kelly is well known as a goofball and who has been suspended from games for various reasons?

        Can we never call someone out unless they wear a white hood or what? What does it take?

        I’m sorry, but trying to equate the word racist to the n word is f-in stupid. The history in this country around the n-word is an ocean compared to the drop the word racist is. Being a racist has never carried the detriment in this country that being non-white has. Show me the laws that stopped racists from voting, or owning property, hell… from being high members of the government. I’m sorry (not really) that the world is changing and we are progressing to point where the privilege from being a straight white male is diminishing by the day. I know it’s scary, but maybe try leaning into the change instead of standing up against it.

  7. How do you defend a Puig player who has come out with several statements about not really trying when he was with the Dodgers. Here’s a quote “The last couple of years, I didn’t work hard because I still have a contract to go,” Puig said, per Cincinnati.com. “Now, I think [I] work harder than any year of my life.” He also dissed the organizations trade saying they didn’t get anything back. That’s not what a mature player does. Sure a lot liked him because of his antics but he had several run ins over the years with Dodger players way back one time with Grienke. The guy was a cancer and it was his attitude that got him traded from the Dodgers. Plask had nothing to do with Puigs problems and not working hard his second season. You are wrong on this one dude.

  8. I hoped…and I should’ve know better when clicking on any article questioning anyone, no matter profession, I’m not fond of in anything that is today’s media. Hes just a racist. Not saying he isn’t, but he could be(him among many in the prof) just lazily following the majority of message board yakking to form their opinion piece. Heard a lot of how he “doesn’t play the game the right way”, about one, and ” his FPCT is well below league average” about another from a gazillion ppl on dodger boards over the years. Here’s my ignorant opinion piece on Plaschke, I used to joke with a friend of mine after watching an episode of ATH (around the horn) years ago, about the random opinions of LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, by saying “I want to go strong-arm Bill Plaschke”. We both laugh a bit. You know like that scene in Unbreakable, ” I like your house Bill, can I come inside.” “who are you, what are you…NONONONO!”. We both laughed hysterically at the pseudo situation, because, I find Mr. Plaschke to be(lack of intellect to find a better description on my part) a whiny bitch. But the racist card gets clicks just like the agreeing with community when writing an article. Hey, cant knock either of ya if your getting paid, but then whats the point of having a legit factual opinion ?

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