Yasiel Puig issues are no myth
March, 27, 2014
By Buster Olney | ESPN Insider
Brendon Thorne/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesYasiel Puig is undeniably gifted, but the Dodgers have had internal concerns.We aim to dispel a handful of myths today. Let's get to it.
Myth No. 1: Controversy swirls around Yasiel Puig because a stodgy media picks on him.
The reality: Controversy swirls around Puig because the media's coverage of him reflects the internal view of a whole lot of folks in the Dodgers organization, and that view is that the right fielder makes too many mistakes.
The team loves his energy, loves his talent and -- at the same time -- there is a growing exasperation among some teammates and members of the front office and staff that he makes the same mistakes over and over again, whether it be in his punctuality or with baserunning. No one is out to get him; no one is trying to repress him; no one is trying to make him look bad. They just want him to take care of business.
As Ramona Shelburne writes, Don Mattingly held a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air with Puig, to wipe the slate clean. Mattingly wouldn't do this if he only thought that a couple of sports writers were being unfair.
And while Mattingly retreated from his comments made in Australia in the past couple of days, it's worth remembering that he played his entire career in New York and dealt with the media a whole lot. He understands how to get a message across through reporters. He made his concerns known with sarcasm -- which, again, reflect the concerns of a whole lot of other folks with the Dodgers who aren't going on the record. In the past week, Mattingly has played both the good cop and bad cop roles, perhaps because some of his players (particularly those who speak only English) aren't comfortable telling Puig directly how they feel. This is what the team meeting was for -- to create an open forum. It's a great sign that Puig welcomed the feedback in the way he did.
If he makes the changes some of his teammates want him to make, they'll respect him like crazy for that. If he doesn't, the exasperation will grow.
Myth No. 2: The players' association has been forced into concessions to make the drug-testing penalties tougher.
The reality: The union