Puig Thoughts

As I was watching the NLCS game last night, I found myself enjoying the misadventures of Yasiel Puig in that game.

And then I started wondering why I was enjoying the misadventures of Yasiel Puig.  I’ve got nothing against the guy.  He was a tremendous asset to my fantasy team.  I frankly haven’t seen much of him playing, not enough to have been turned off by any “excessive displays of exuberance”.

1991 CMC Ed Puig

Sorry, this is the only Puig I own…

Sure, part of it has to do with my general dislike of the Dodgers.  But I enjoyed  Puig’s errors a little bit more than I enjoyed Mark Ellis bobbling the ball with the bases loaded.  So what’s up with that?

While pondering this, I had a thought regarding another part of the game, and it gave me a little insight into the situation.

During the 5th inning, the Dodgers intentionally walked Pete Kozma to bring the pitcher up to bat.  My wife was in the kitchen, and I yelled over to her about what the Dodgers were doing, because she hates the intentional walk as a strategy and thoroughly enjoys it when it backfires.  In this case, it did backfire (more or less), and Mrs. Shlabotnik reveled in the strategy’s failure.

So this morning that got me thinking… When we watch sports, we always like to put ourselves into that situation;  what would I do if I were at bat, on the mound, playing right field or managing the game?  Mrs. S would never issue an IBB, and every time it fails as a strategy, it vindicates her position.

Similarly, I have certain thoughts on how I would play the game if I had the tiniest shred of athletic ability… what pitch I would throw, whether or not I’d sacrifice, how I’d approach an at-bat with the game on the line.

We all judge the decisions made by a player, because when that decision goes against what we would do and it doesn’t work out, in our minds that proves us “right” and gives our self-esteem a tiny boost.

As I’ve been watching the playoffs, there have been a number of situations that fall into the category of “That’s not what I would’ve done, and see what happened?”  After a while, I realized that more than a couple of these plays involved Yasiel Puig, and after enough of these had passed, I subconsciously started treating his style of play as “If he played the game the way I would play the game, none of this would have happened”.

Is it fair?  Hell, no.

Do I hate Puig?  Hell, no.

Does he approach the game the way I would?  Hell, no… and I think that’s why I enjoyed his errors and his strikeouts more than the other players, because every time he failed, in my mind I succeeded.

I don’t know how much of this applies to other people’s attitude towards Puig, but I do think that there are a lot of times when “He doesn’t play the game right” simply means “He doesn’t play the game the way I do”, and that’s fine… it’s just a matter of understanding the subtext behind it.

Using My Fantasy Team As An Excuse To Make Customs, Part 2

Fantasy-wise, Greg Holland was the biggest surprise for me in 2013. I drafted him before the season, but admittedly didn’t know much about him other than he’d been named the the Royals closer during the 2012 season.
2013 TSR #756 - Greg Holland

He ended up with 47 saves, a 1.21 ERA, a 0.866 WHIP and 13.8 K’s per 9 innings – all very impressive numbers.

When doing a Image Google to find a photo of Greg Holland, I somehow ended up with the same image as was used on this Simon & Gintfunkel card:
2013 Gintfunkel Gloria Estefan

When I clicked on the link provided, I ended up on a page full of HTML and no reference to who this singer in the photo was, nor what she had to do with Greg Holland. I did ultimately find out that it’s Gloria Estefan; why she came up in a search on Greg Holland remains a mystery to me.

When it comes to fantasy baseball, I pride myself on my ability to pick up impact rookies during the season. Last year it was Mike Trout; this year, I picked up a couple of kids you may have heard of…
2013 TSR #669 - Yasiel Puig

I won’t deny that Puig’s had a an impressive season and may well have turned the Dodgers’ season around, but when it comes to the NL Rookie Of The Year award, my money’s on this guy:

2013 TSR #702 - Jose Fernandez

Before recapping some of Fernandez’ achievements, I will remind you that all of this was with a very bad team that lost 100 games…

He had a 12-6 record, which means he got nearly 20% of the Marlins’ wins but only 6% of the losses. He also had a 2.19 ERA (2nd in MLB), 0.979 WHIP (4th in MLB), .182 Batting Average Allowed (1st in MLB) and 187 K’s in 172.1 innings.

Most other years, Puig is a shoo-in… but I have to think that Jose Fernandez takes home the hardware.