Los Angeles Dodgers

Will Yasiel Puig's Maturity Level Lead to Bigger Issues Down the Road?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is restrained by teammates during a benches clearing brawl after Zack Greinke was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  Puig had been hit earlier in the game.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Chris StephensCorrespondent IIJune 13, 2013

Tuesday night's brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks was troubling.

And I'm not talking about the benches clearing. It's baseball, and it tends to happen from time to time.

What I'm most concerned about is Yasiel Puig and the apparent rage he had on the field during Tuesday's brawl.

The way Puig's rage showed on the field, I (like many others) are concerned with his anger issues.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is concerned as well.

I’m more worried about Puig because he was out of control during the fight, renewing questions about his makeup that date back to his time in Cuba; he seemingly recovered from a strained right shoulder in record time, making a strong throw home from right field and drilling a single after entering Wednesday night’s game in the 12th inning.

Puig was a late scratch from Wednesday's game with shoulder soreness, an injury that seems to have happened during the brawl.

It brings into question, will his maturity level lead to bigger issues down the road for the Dodgers?

 

Past Transgressions

Some people will say past transgressions have nothing to do with this situation, but it's only fair to point them out.

Puig was banned in Cuba during the 2011 season for disciplinary reasons, and some interpreted that penalty, as related to his attempts, to defect. Cuban baseball expert and author Peter Bjarkman, however, told USA Today that the suspension occurred after Puig was arrested on a shoplifting charge while playing in a tournament in Rotterdam, Holland—his attempts to defect stemmed from his ban.

In April, he was arrested for reckless driving, speeding and driving without proof of insurance. The speeding charge was driving 97 mph in a 50-mph zone.

Not exactly the brightest move in the world.

There's a history of incidents, so can we expect more in the future?

 

Puig is Passionate

For Puig, everything is done at full speed. Nothing is ever done halfway.

After all, can you really blame Puig for being in a rage after Ian Kennedy hit Zack Greinke in the head? Just an inning before, Puig had a pitch graze his nose from Kennedy.

It's understandable why he would be angry.

Dodgers' brass doesn't seem to be concerned.

When I asked Dodgers team president Stan Kasten if Puig’s conduct concerned him, he replied, “Not a bit. He’s a kid who plays with a lot of energy and passion—which we love.”

Manager Don Mattingly had a similar reaction.

“The one thing we’ve learned with Yasiel is that there’s no half-speed,” Mattingly said. “It’s fast. It’s hard. It’s all the time. I guess I’m really not surprised that anything that happens with Yasiel happens in a fast manner.”

The Dodgers will likely try to harness that passion and teach him when the right moments are to release it.

Multiple other players reacted the same way Puig did on Tuesday, but yet, there's no question about their anger problems.

 

Verdict

It was an ugly incident, but it can be chalked up to passion in the heat of the moment.

Puig likely learned his lesson about throwing punches, as he was out of the starting lineup the next day with shoulder soreness.

It's a situation that will be monitored in the future, but it isn't something baseball fans should be concerned about.

Puig is an exciting player, and emotions just got the best of him this time.

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