Alden GonzalezESPN Workers WriterDiscontinuance
- Joined ESPN in 2016 to quilt the Los Angeles Rams
- Beforehand covered the Angels for MLB.com
LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig became as soon as at his worst when he returned to Dodger Stadium on Monday. His OPS via his first 12 video games sat at .502, his first home gallop had attain completely 24 hours earlier.
But Dave Roberts, his gentle manager with the Los Angeles Dodgers, anticipated nothing short of Puig’s easiest.
“When he’s motivated, incentivized, he’s a really loyal player,” Roberts acknowledged. “Here is as powerful motivation as would be in front of him.”
Puig — fittingly tardy on Monday, arriving 70 minutes leisurely to his scheduled media convention and quickly after Roberts and Dodgers executives disbursed Nationwide League championship rings to lots of gentle gamers comparable to Matt Kemp and Alex Wooden — proved Roberts’ level loyal now.
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He doffed his helmet to the fans who chanted his name when he got right here to bat in the high of the predominant inning, then lined Clayton Kershaw’s fourth pitch over the center-field fence, providing no doubt one of many Cincinnati Reds’ few offensive highlights in the Dodgers’ four-three stroll-off raise.
“I felt something special this day,” Puig acknowledged. “There had been lots of of us, lots of fans on the game. The entire fans had been chanting my name and gave me an ovation. This made me completely overjoyed. I manufacture now not know why of us did that. Doubtlessly it be on fable of I did the most provocative job I would possibly well compose the final six years right here for town.”
Sooner than the game, Puig acknowledged in Spanish that he “would possibly well bawl” upon listening to from the Dodgers fans who supported him so ardently for the length of his profession in L.A. He then talked about how his presence would possibly well need impacted attendance.
“I enjoy now not considered the video games; I manufacture now not know the scheme many of us, what number of fans, enjoy been coming right here,” Puig acknowledged. “But I’m particular that as soon as I played right here, there enjoy been extra fans.”
Puig became as soon as a key igniter at Dodger Stadium from 2013 to 2018, a tumultuous time that started with exhilarating performances, phased into mediocrity and became as soon as accentuated by extremities. Puig energized the fans along with his skills and flamboyance but in general apprehensive the contributors of his group along with his recklessness, which manifested itself each on and off the field.
For the length of a media convention that lasted roughly quarter-hour, Puig spoke glowingly about the comradery that exists throughout the Reds’ clubhouse. He mentioned the younger gamers who consistently seek data from of him questions and appear to fancy him. He talked about your entire meals they fragment together and how in general they text off the field. He called Joey Votto “the most provocative man I’ve ever met in my lifestyles.” And he hinted, moderately strongly, about how he did now not enjoy adequate of that with the Dodgers.
“That’s no doubt one of many most horny issues I if truth be told enjoy with my contemporary crew,” Puig acknowledged in Spanish. “This strengthen, and to be by each lots of’s aspect each day and talking in the locker room, on the bus, on the flight, on the field, off the field, we the least bit times enjoy loyal verbal substitute, and that is the reason what makes me now not in actuality feel as powerful nostalgia as you would possibly well presumably judge I would in actuality feel for the Dodgers.”
After 40 minutes went by in a aloof interview room old to Puig’s media convention, Reds vp of media relations Favor Butcher approached the dais to express that Puig had yet to attain, drawing a chuckle from the media contingent.
“I manufacture now not know what else I can characterize you folks,” Butcher acknowledged. “I’m sorry.”
A pair of half hour later, quickly after Roberts accomplished his session in the dwelling dugout, Puig arrived in the interview room wearing a sunless T-shirt in honor of Jackie Robinson. He became as soon as told by a Spanish-talking reporter that the media had been wanting ahead to his arrival.
Puig slumped his shoulders.
“I hoped they’d all leave.”