The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers don’t like each other. Most of the ill-will stems from the Ian Kennedy-Zack Greinke Beanfest back in June.
Now, the D’backs are starting to turn their attention to the mercurial Yasiel Puig. Diamondback Catcher Miguel Montero had some choice words for the reckless Puig. From MLB.com:
“If he’s my teammate, I probably try to teach him how to behave in the big leagues. He’s creating a bad reputation around the league, and it’s unfortunate because the talent that he has is to be one of the greatest players in the big leagues.
“Right now, I’m not going to say he’s the best because he hasn’t proved anything yet. Does he have talent? Of course. Does he have the tools? Of course. He’s got so much talent, it’d be really bad if he wasted it doing the stupid things that he’s doing. You have to respect to earn respect. If you don’t respect anybody, you aren’t going to earn respect.”
Montero may still be a little heated over the way Puig tried to score the other night, trying to bowl the catcher over to no avail.
Montero made the out and then gave Puig a little Mutombo Wag, sending him back to the dugout.
Word also came out today that Puig snubbed Diamondback Legend Luis Gonzalez when he approached the rising star at batting practice prior to yesterday’s game. Here is the account of the encounter from Dan Bickley of The USA Today:
During batting practice before Monday’s game at Chase Field, Puig was approached by Luis Gonzalez. The former Diamondbacks star introduced himself, and began relating how his family also had roots in Cuba, just like Puig.
Except Puig wouldn’t even look up or acknowledge his visitor. And for the record, Gonzalez was speaking Spanish, so nothing was lost in translation.
Gonzalez confirmed the one-sided conversation, but declined to elaborate or comment further.
But it’s not all bad.
Dodgers coach Mark McGwire witnessed the awkward meeting, and allegedly jumped Puig pretty good. McGwire pointed out the man he was ignoring merely won a World Series with a hit off Mariano Rivera, and that Gonzalez’s number happened to be hanging inside Chase Field.
Yasiel Puig has already made it clear that he is going to be a “love him or hate him” type of player. What is refreshing is that he is a competitor and doesn’t seem the type to have a conversation with the first baseman or chumming around with his opponents at the cage before a contest.
Was snubbing an icon like Luis Gonzalez a smart move? Absolutely not. However, is it wrong of someone to not want to mingle with his competition hours before trying to beat them? I don’t thinkso.
Today’s sporting culture is all about keeping it PC on an off the field. Players claim they respect their opponents and just want to beat them on the field and keep the peripheral tomfoolery out of the game. By doing that, we hear less of the blood-fueled rivalries of yore and more of opponents being best pals and working out together in the off-season.
That wasn’t always the case — and maybe, nay hopefully Puig is bringing back some of that old school tenacity in a sport that badly needs it.