The Naples Daily News reported Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested Saturday morning and charged with reckless driving. The Daily News said from a Highway Patrol spokesman that the 23-year-old was driving 110 MPH. Puig was also arrested back in April on a reckless charge, reportedly driving 97 MPH in a 50-mph area.
It’s hard not to be in awe with the talent Puig possesses, but for some, the way he carries himself leaves the opposite impression, and this latest incident does no favors. It won’t be until June where he has been in the Majors for a year, but already he seems to have made a name for himself in a good way on the field, and not-so-good off it.
Back in July, while in Arizona, he was approached by Diamondbacks legend Luis Gonzalez, only for the reports of Puig snubbing the former All Star. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire did not take very well to the incident, and it looks like he rubbed other Diamondback players the wrong way, such as the reports of Miguel Montero citing Puig’s immaturity, or an MLB.com report of then-Diamondback Ian Kennedy saying Puig plays with a lot of arrogance.
It wasn’t just people within his division who disapproved. Puig drew criticism during the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals when he flipped his bat when he thought he hit a home run in game 3 but was actually a triple. Sources reported Carlos Beltran didn’t like it and whether one agrees with Beltran or wasn’t phased by it, it was another incident in which Puig drew negative attention to himself.
Personally, I didn’t really have a problem with the bat flip. If I was 0-11 with 7 strikeouts in the NLCS prior to that point like Puig was, I’d feel ecstatic and possibly even show a little of it if I hit what looked like a home run. He’s a special player who could beat a team in many ways. He was named both NL Rookie of the Month and NL Player of the Month in June, where he collected 44 hits to begin a tremendous rookie season and perhaps a very promising career.
However, it doesn’t matter what kind of talent Puig has if he continues to conduct himself in ways that show lack of respect or worse, get arrested. If he keeps on going down the wrong path, he wouldn’t be the first player in history to waste his gifted play because of his behavior. It’s one thing to be an agitator on the diamond, the game is alwys going to have those. However, not every agitator has to speed at an alarming rate, or ignore a former player who engages them.
Puig is sitll young and has lots of time to change himself and undo his past mistakes. However, if it keeps up, people may think of him as a troublemaker more than the explosive ballplayer he has shown he can be.