Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig Overcome His Questionable Past?

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ young star right fielder Yasiel Puig is certainly one of the most exciting baseball prospects to emerge in the MLB right now, but his constant antics and shady past may greatly hinder his potential success in the sport.  While many people know about his Cuban background, what has recently come to light is a frightening tale of a daring escape and defection from his home country.  With several questionable characters involved in helping Puig reach the glorious diamonds of American baseball, the young slugger may soon have a lot more to worry about than opposing pitches and perfecting his strange base-running habits.

The practice of Cuban baseball players defecting in order to play in MLB is nothing new, but it’s usually a process that happens behind closed doors and rarely ever reaches the eyes of casual fans.  A smuggler basically brings a talented player out of the country in exchange for a large cut of future earnings.  Several people usually help along the way.  The reason we now heard about Puig’s particular experience is because one of the men involved in bringing him here wasn’t paid his expected cut of the earnings.  Angry and desperate, he has taken to popular media to try and get his money.

The Puig camp has been very professional in dealing with the situation; not disclosing any information and simply stating that Puig wants to work hard and win games for the Dodgers.  But sifting beyond all that PC official banter, Puig seems to be a character destined for constant controversy throughout his career.  He has been arrested for reckless driving and punished by the team for showing up late to a game.  He has had several altercations and issues with teammates.  On the field, for every powerful home run or sensational throw from right field there is a corresponding error that leaves everyone’s head scratching.  In short, Yasiel Puig is a loose cannon, and despite all his physical ability may not have the smarts and maturity to handle life in the big leagues.

Perhaps his treacherous journey to America taught him that little things like showing up on time aren’t that important.  But unfortunately, he is now becoming such a heavily scrutinized figure that any slip-up will be heavily analyzed by the press.  Such is the life that surrounds superstar celebrity athletes.  Hopefully Puig is a person that can find strength in his difficult past and use it to become a stronger person.  He is young but there is certainly some incredible talent in this budding star.

What worries me about Puig though is that he has only been with the LA Dodgers for roughly one year, and already his story is reading like something out of a Hollywood script.  What’s next?  Are we going to discover that he is actually older than he says?  Is a future steroid scandal on the horizon?  Baseball is a game chalked full of controversies, and unfortunately Puig comes across as exactly the type of guy liable to be at the center of such a scandal.  Clearly this guy is a risk taker and has no problem standing in the face of authority.  But I suppose all we can do is watch and enjoy his tremendous skill in the meanwhile.  Sure, Puig may become a major source of trouble in the coming years of his career, but until that day comes let’s just sit back and see what wonders he can work for the Dodgers!

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