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The story of how Yasiel Puig made his way from Cuba to Los Angeles
April 14, 2014 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers
For close to a year Puig had been trying to force an answer, to extract himself from Fidel Castro’s state-run sports machine, which paid him $17 a month, and sneak across the tropics to a mythical north, where even benchwarmers lived like kings. Two, three, four times, maybe more, he had risked everything and fled, only to be detained by the Cuban authorities or intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard—each failure making the next attempt more urgent. Finally, in June 2012, the 21-year-old outfielder left his home in Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s southern shore, and set off by car for the northern province of Matanzas, just 90 miles from Florida. He was traveling with three companions: a boxer, a pinup girl, and a Santeria priest, the latter of whom blessed their expedition with a splash of rum and a sprinkle of chicken blood.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
And now he drives a Rolls Royce, and is, for all his talent, pretty much a pain in the ass for the rest of his teammates.
posted by Danf at 4:49 PM on April 14


And now he drives a Rolls Royce, and is, for all his talent pretty much a pain in the ass for the rest of his teammates.

That's not true, and it seems to be propagated entirely by certain 'old-school' (read: white) sportswriters in Los Angeles who have a problem with a minority player who doesn't give a shit what they think, because he is so new to this experience he's still learning about what matters. I'd recommend this by Dan LeBatard as an excellent example of contextualizing Puig.

And also I'm not sure what was implied by the Rolls Royce comment. You're saying baseball players are rich? Well, knock me over with a feather.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 5:08 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Small sample size, but so far this year his OPS is .694. Freeman's is 1.333, Trout's at 1.033. Even Harper, who's not doing so hot, is at .788.

I find myself hoping Puig is Francoeur II.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:09 PM on April 14


Reading that article, I can't help but think that basically everyone involved is an asshole.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:16 PM on April 14


Wow. The mere mention of "Yasiel Puig" is now a dog whistle.

a pain in the ass for the rest of his teammates.

If true, who cares? Is Andre Eithier going to not stretch that hit into a double because of when Puig came to work in the morning?


Small sample size, but

You're absolutely right. So why bother comparing OPS two weeks into the season?
posted by thecjm at 5:21 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Silly, dude rakes.
posted by sfts2 at 5:33 PM on April 14


If true, who cares? Is Andre Eithier going to not stretch that hit into a double because of when Puig came to work in the morning?

I dunno man, Ethier hasn't hit a double this season...
posted by The Michael The at 5:44 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I'm a Twins fan, a hapless organization with a manager that places a ridiculous amount of importance on players who get along in the clubhouse. Give me an asshole that hits the fucking ball instead of a nice guy that slaps into a double play.
posted by Ber at 5:50 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


That's a helluva story. I am constitutionally unable to root for anyone in a Dodgers uniform, but I do feel like Puig gets a bum rap.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:07 PM on April 14


The mere mention of "Yasiel Puig" is now a dog whistle.

That's a bit weird. Are you implying that people who get tired of the constant coverage of Puig and his apparent status as the Anointed One before he's really done anything are racist?
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:29 PM on April 14


You're absolutely right. So why bother comparing OPS two weeks into the season?

True. It was a bit mean-spirited.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:35 PM on April 14


In an effort to lighten the mood:

Wow. The mere mention of "Yasiel Puig" is now a dog whistle.

I hereby confess to having read the name as "yasiel PUG" at first and was wondering what a dog was doing playing on a ball team.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:37 PM on April 14


An important piece by Dan LaBetard explains why we should cut Puig some slack.

Personally, I have zero time for people who have some kind of hate on for Puig. Dude can play and he is fun to watch. Why does it have to be more complicated than that? Kindly fuck off with your "he doesn't play the game" crap.

I am a hardcore baseball fan, but there are very few single players I would buy a baseball ticket to see. Puig is one of them.

People go on about not being able to cheer for the Dodgers. I used to like the St. Louis Cardinals, right up until last year's NLCS, which people turned into a battle of good vs evil. The Cards and their Cardinal Way and never-ending talk about having the best fans in baseball. Somehow they played the game "the right way". And the Dodgers, particularly Puig, became the personification of rot on baseball. I now find the Cards insufferable and will cheer for the Dodgers over them any day of the week.
posted by dry white toast at 8:42 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


The Puig thing in the NLCS was totally a forced media narrative, it's not like actual Cardinal fans had it out for him or anything. As a fan of an opposing team he's the kind of guy you don't want to see beat you but at least he's not boring. I think more baseball writers than fans are obsessed with baseball being old school and straight laced, good players who are actually entertaining are always popular with the fans.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:04 PM on April 14


For the record, I'm not constitutionally unable to root for the Dodgers because of any idea that the Dodgers represent the "rot in baseball" or anything like that. It's because I'm the kind of person that covets this dude's 1991 "LA Sucks" t-shirt from 96 Rock.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:40 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Are you implying that people who get tired of the constant coverage of Puig and his apparent status as the Anointed One before he's really done anything are racist?

No. I was implying that whenever there is something written about Puig, there's always talk in the comments if not the article itself about "drive" and "hustle" and "playing the right way" and "respecting the game" and that language is very dog whistley, especially out of the mouth of older white male sportswriters who worship at the altar of Mickey Mantle (who, funnily enough, was an athletic outfielder who was full of himself and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Sound familiar?)

But it this case that kind of coded language wasn't even needed to make the very first comment about Yasiel's expensive car and his affect on the nebulous concept of teamwork.

And speaking of Jeff Francoeur.

posted by thecjm at 9:52 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


thecjm: “And speaking of Jeff Francoeur. ”
I'm normally the kind of person who thinks that practical jokers deserve keelhauling, but this is hilarious.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:00 PM on April 14


Even as a cynical MeFi veteran I'm surprised that people just want to spout opinions about Puig without even feigning a skim of the article. Murder, kidnapping, extortion. It's a fascinating story. And two separate links to LeBatard's article as context for cutting Puig slack, when the article itself is little more than context for cutting Puig slack.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:46 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I retract, and apologize for, the first comment in this tread. In addition, I await the day when Mr. Puig embraces the importance of hitting the cutoff man.
posted by Danf at 7:14 AM on April 15


No One Walks Off The Island, Scott Eden, ESPN The Magazine, 17 April 2014
Two years ago, Yasiel Puig fled Cuba in the hands of black-market smugglers. This is the story of how the cost of the defection journey - in money and human lives - shadows him still.
Summary of the above: Yasiel Puig subjected to threats, suit, ESPN, 17 April 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 8:26 PM on April 17


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