Remember when I was praising Johnny Manziel for being this over the top wild horse that has people all wild up? I am officially proclaiming Yasiel Puig as baseball’s Manziel.
I know, I know Carlos Beltran. You want him to tone it down a notch.
“As a player, I just think he doesn’t know [how to act],” Beltran said via ESPN. “That’s what I think. He really doesn’t know. He must think that he’s still playing somewhere else.
“He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that — great ability, great talent. I think with time he’ll learn that you’ve got to act with a little bit more calm.”
It’s hard to be calm when you have the biggest hit in your career in the playoffs. Even harder for a 22-year-old rookie to stay calm.
I am not saying that over the top celebrations are OK all the time. But there are some cases where I find it OK.
Puig appears to be a once in a lifetime kind of player. He has great defensive skills, great hitting and tremendous speed. The fact that he had a bat flip and still legged out a triple is something to celebrate. Of course he avoided disaster and was not thrown out. If that happened, I’d be singing a different tune.
But it didn’t. Instead, Puig displayed the beauty of the game of baseball. It’s a game. It’s a children’s game.
We’re all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children’s game, we just don’t… don’t know when that’s gonna be.
— Moneyball (2011)
So why should we stop enjoying the with a child-like thrill? Why should Puig or any other player turn into androids? There is a place and a time to be respectful to the game, but there is also moments where having fun is the way to go.
There’s a reason why The Sandlot is my favorite baseball movies of all time. The story reminds me of why I fell in love with the game and how so many players fell in love too. It’s that early age, those childhood memories that is the foundation of this sport.
I’d imagine if I was a rookie, I’d probably feel just as excited as Puig. I might not be that loud with my gestures with it, but if that’s how he plays, then I’m OK with it. In a league of people being so monotone and strict, Puig is a breath of fresh air.
In time he will tone it down as he becomes a veteran. But he’s not now. I’m going to let him have this moment.
He’s the rose that grows from the concrete, the needle in the haystack. The reminder to us as to why we love the game. He brings out our inner child.