A viewer’s guide to Yasiel Puig in the 2018 World Series
There are better players. There are not more unpredictable players. Baseball is a regional sport now. There are no judgments attached to that statement, and it’s not even remotely controversial. In an era where you can have 95 percent of all recorded media beamed from space directly into your pocket, it’s too much to expect people to follow 30 different teams for 162 games. The World Series is often where fans check back in with the game on a national level. Who are these players? You’ve heard of a lot of them, sure, and you’ve seen a few highlights, but unless your team plays the Red Sox or Dodgers 18 times a year, you don’t know them. Yasiel Puig is a player you’ve heard of. You might have heard a lot about him, even. But if you don’t know him, it’s crucial to your viewing enjoyment to read up on him before the next four, five, six, or seven games. After hitting .148 in last year’s World Series, Puig is likely to be a story for the 2018 World Series. You should get to know Yasiel Puig. For instance, did you know ... Yasiel Puig has bees in his pants I’ve used this description for several years now, and someone once described it as a “turn of phrase” to me. I had to stop them, grab them by the wrist, look them in the eyes, and say, “This is not a turn of phrase. This is a literal fact. Yasiel Puig literally has bees in his pants. A writhing, stinging swarm of bees that ensure he will never be at rest, that he will never know peace. Pray for him. Pray for his merciful release.” This true, literal fact informs many of the sections below this, so before you learn anything else, know that Puig has a living swarm of bees in his pants at all times. They are angry, bitey bees. Yasiel Puig absolutely loves to show off his arm Sometimes this manifests itself in an obvious way, which is Puig throwing a runner out. These are tremendously fun, enjoyable baseball moments. But Puig can’t stop there. My working theory for this video is that Puig definitely knew there were three outs and didn’t care. There will be a pitcher on second — let’s say it’s Rick Porcello after fouling a ball off his foot — and Puig will still fire to third base from 250 feet away. I get it, too. If I could play “Eruption” on a banjo, I would do it all the time. It would be the best party trick I had, so you can’t blame Puig. He’s doing what we would all do if we had that arm. Yasiel Puig hustles This is probably because he wants to humiliate everyone who is not Yasiel Puig, but we’re not here to psychoanalyze him. All you should know is that he hustles. He hustles in the field, constantly making you think he’s going to run right through a wall, like poor Bump Bailey from The Natural. And even if he occasionally hustles his way into silly outs, his brand of base running is tremendous fun. Look at how he dives! He goes into second like he’s screaming obscenities at Newtonian physics while trying to reach Earth’s core. This was in the first inning of a regular-season game, and no one would have blamed him if he just made a wide turn at first, and then moseyed back to first. But the bees in his pants do not allow for any moseying. They are a ruthless taskmaster. Yasiel Puig will also watch his long extra-base-hits Well, maybe some moseying. Bees gotta sleep sometime. That’s a bat-flipped double and probably not the best example, considering that only a second elapses before he realizes it’s not gone. He holds this celebratory pose for a beat longer, but it’s also not the best example because he still stretches it into a stand-up triple: There are other examples out there, but the videos elude me. The point is that Puig isn’t above watching a ball hit a fence, which is almost as entertaining as when he hits a hustle double. Yasiel Puig is the greatest show on earth, according to Yasiel Puig And he’s not wrong! But this is a useful way to think about him when he is doing Extremely Yasiel Puig Things. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images He is not doing this to show up Jeremy Jeffress. He is doing this because it is what the moment demands. He is doing this because Yasiel Puig just did something grandiose, and the only logical reaction is to sell what just happened with the greatest showmanship he can muster. And he can muster quite a lot, what with being the Greatest Show on Earth, and all. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Take the lead image up there. Just a guy lying down, gazing at the stars, which are also a part of the Truman Show-like set that was created for Puig and Puig alone. It’s why he is so quick to jump into a celebratory pose, even while the opposing player is behind him with a “Sir, this is a Wendy’s” look on his face. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images It’s why he’s the king of turning around and making faces while the ball is in play. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images The best part is that all of the pictures in this post? They’re from the last week. I’ll work up a “Best Pictures of Yasiel Puig’s Career” post at one point and dig through the thousands, but for right now, I took a minute or two to find these examples of Puig putting on a show, and they work perfectly. He’s doing this because the world is here to see Yasiel Puig, and he does not want to bore them. He is incapable of boring them. For he is our Greatest Showman. He hustles. He infuriates. He acts like someone convinced the world is desperate for more, more, more Yasiel Puig content and doesn’t want to disappoint his fans. He is pretty sure he’s the only person in this simulation, so he’d might as well live it up. You should watch the World Series for all sorts of reasons, but now that you know a little bit about Puig, make sure to keep an closer eye on him. He usually makes it worthwhile.
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