July 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) walks back to the dugout after striking out against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: ©Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday my co-editor, Stuart, did a post about why the Giants shouldn’t go after Yasiel Puig in retaliation for his single hitting bat-flipping, field celebrating, trash-talking, and down right obnoxious behavior on the field. His argument was that Giants fans are calling for it, but that behavior needs to stop and any retaliation could put our beloved Buster Posey in harm’s way.
Well, friends, I’m not a good a sportsman as Stuart and I definitely subscribe to the school of the unwritten baseball rules. Beaning unruly batters is part of those rules. I say the Giants should retaliate against Puig with a nice fast ball to the gut, arm, leg, or anywhere below the shoulders. I do not condone head shots, however.
I would even go as far to argue that this kind of rivalry that is happening between the Giants and the Dodgers right now is good for baseball. I mean, if I wanted to watch perfect gentlemen playing baseball, shaking hands, and helping each other up on the field, I’d go watch a little league game where they don’t keep score. You would, too. If there is not a team that just gets under your skin, well, you simply are not a real baseball fan. I’m not saying you have to want people to get hit to be a real baseball fan. I would never say that, but you do need to appreciate and have respect for the on-field rivalries. Off the field is a completely different story.
That said, I do think the Giants should retaliate against Puig. I don’t think they should injure him by any means, but a sore arm will do the trick. Here’s why I feel this way. Puig is a kid. He’s cocky, obnoxious, and plays like the Golden Boy that all of MLB (sans the Giants) thinks he is. If they Giants don’t bean him, another team most certainly will. He defies the unwritten rules of playing baseball, especially in another team’s park. I mean, he flipped his bat because he hit a single. That’s like celebrating for passing English 101 in college. It’s what you’re supposed to do as a ball player, hit the ball.
Last year, Cole Hamels sent a “Welcome to the Big Leagues” pitch to Bryce Harper. Hamels got suspended for being dumb enough to admit it, but you do have to appreciate his courage for speaking up for “old baseball.” Here’s what he had to say,
"“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I mean, I’m not going to deny it. It’s something that I grew up watching. I’m just trying to continue old baseball, because I think some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is. But I think unfortunately sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not as that kind of old school, prestigious way of baseball.” via Sports Illustrated"
Don’t get me wrong. I love Bryce Harper. He’s fun to watch. I’d also imagine if you aren’t a Giant fan, Yasiel Puig is also fun to watch. But we’re Giants fans, and Puig needs to be put in his place. He needs to take a few lessons from Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, who you rarely see making much of a spectacle anymore, though Kemp did have a bit of a celebration after catching a fly ball to end the game when we played in LA. I’m not saying Giants don’t do it also, just not as much. Sure, Sergio Romo was chirping right along with Puig and Hanley Ramirez, but he saves his celebrating for when a game is over. Chirping is completely different from bat flipping and blowing kisses in the middle of a game.
So, go for it Giants. Give him a shot to the gut and remind him that he still has a lot to learn about playing in the Majors. He’s not always going to be the Golden Boy and the Giants need to start him off right. In fact, Puig should take getting hit as a sign of respect from the Giants. He only gets under our skin because he’s good. If he was hitting .200 there would be no need to hit him.
As for the fear of someone like Posey getting hit back by the Dodgers, I think there isn’t much chance of that happening. Posey can take a hit, and if he does get it, so be it. It’s unlikely the Dodgers would seriously injure him, partly because he’s a pretty classy guy and I can imagine the Dodger players have a lot of respect for how he plays the game. Who doesn’t? I mean, he hit a home run in Game 4 of the World Series last year and didn’t feel the need to flip his bat. The most emotion you’ll see out of him is when he throws someone out at 2B. So fans, don’t worry about Buster, he’ll be fine, and if an on-field brawl takes place, I’m pretty sure you won’t he him in the middle of it.
That said, if Sergio Romo ever comes to the plate to bat against the Dodgers, he may have a few things to worry about.
Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear about it in the comments!