Few players have taken a city and sport by storm like Yasiel Puig. The Cuban star joined the Dodgers back in 2013 after a harrowing defection from Cuba. Puig was just 22 years old when he made his MLB debut and had only been in the USA for less than two years.
With that came many growing pains and learning experiences over the years. And, as such, a perception followed the outfielder wherever he went.
In a post on his social media on Saturday, he admitted that he didn’t really know who he was supposed to be or how to act when he came to the states. And with that, he had an ask of Major League Baseball and the players union…
Think of the needs of Latino players who are leaving everything they know behind to join your league. Their country and their culture.
With the help of his agent, Lisette Carnet, Puig had this to say.
I hope that during this lockout and through the baseball negotiations they also find a way of discussing the unique needs of Latino players.
Latino players go through hardships for not educating ourselves from the beginning when we arrive in the U.S. We do not understand what is expected of us as public figures. Latino players need to not just learn English, but we need to better understand American values and social norms so that we can make better choices for our careers and lives.
The now 30-year-old spoke further on his past experiences and difficulties early in his career.
As a Cuban immigrant I came to play on the biggest stage of baseball without the proper guidance in place to help me fully assimilate, so I had to learn my lessons the hard way. I do not want another player with a similar background to experience the same hardships that I went through. I hope negotiations consider this gap.
Amid recently settled assault allegations and fighting through the narrative of his past, Puig has been out of the big leagues since 2019. He nearly inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves during the 2020 season but that was pulled reportedly after he tested positive for covid-19 at the time. He spent part of the 2021 season playing in Mexico where he hit well (.312/.409/.517) and was named as the Defensive Player of the Year.
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In parts of 7 MLB seasons — 6 of which were spent with the Dodgers — the former All-Star has hit .277 with 132 home runs and 415 runs batted in.
Puig is hungry and hopeful for another shot at Major League Baseball in 2022, he’s made this much known. But he may be more hopeful that no other player of his background go through what he did as a young player.