You might have heard, Yasiel Puig returns to Los Angeles on Monday to face Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. This game is sort of a big deal – for all the right reasons.
Without question, Puig made an impact during his time in Los Angeles. Now, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times has one of the better comprehensive reads on the matter. If you haven’t already, definitely take the time to click through and give the story a read.
The complicated legacy of Yasiel Puig.
“You never knew what was going to happen. It was electric.”
“He just saw it as he was just going to show up and do whatever he wants.” https://t.co/tuFys5diws
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) April 14, 2019
While McCullough nicely mixes in quotes from Dave Roberts, Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Kiké Hernandez, Chris Woodward, and Austin Barnes among others; he allows the reader to draw their own conclusion on Puig’s tenure in Los Angeles.
With so many quotes, it’s hard to pick one or two; all are pertinent to painting the full picture. Let’s start with veteran Justin Turner’s thoughts on Puig.
“The frustrating part is that if Puig was good, and played good, then we would be a really, really, really good team,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “So everyone wanted him to be that good player. He didn’t see it that way. He just saw it as he was just going to show up and do whatever he wants. The talent is off the charts,” Turner said. “He could be one of the best players in the game. But the frustrating part is when you don’t see him necessarily having the desire to be as good as he could be.”
While Dave Roberts says that he and Puig remain friends – he acknowledges that it was time to part ways.
“I was disappointed to read that he said now that he’s a free agent, he’s going to work harder and practice and be the best he can be,” Roberts said. “That’s what everyone around him here was doing. For him to come out and say he didn’t give his best effort for us, it’s very disappointing. And it just shows that this probably wasn’t the right place for him.”
“We always had to manage in a very unique way, because we didn’t want to have him change the passion, the exuberance, the flair that he brought every day,” said Ned Colletti, the Dodgers general manager through 2014. “But you also need other elements in order to be successful.”
Most importantly was the quote of Clayton Kershaw. Notably, Kershaw and Puig’s star-crossed history should be remembered. While Kershaw didn’t mix words, he was complimentary of the success the franchise achieved during the Puig-era.
“Obviously, there was some roller coaster stuff going on there at times. But, shoot, he was here six years. We had a lot of good runs. Every year, we went to the playoffs when he was there. He contributed a lot to that. No matter what antics he may have had, he definitely helped contribute to help us win games. You can’t argue with that.”
Indeed, Puig makes his first return to Dodger Stadium on Monday evening. An event like this will only happen once, and then the Puig/Dodgers storylines will simmer and people will forget or relent in the attention this storyline gets. For now, it’s going to headline many of the national and mainstream headlines due to the type of charisma Puig brings with every game.
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