Puig is lucky he doesn't have to face Bob Gibson

Posted by Scott Wuerz on October 15, 2013 

There has been a lot of criticism of the Cardinals over the last few years as "smug" or "entitled."

Some people are sick of their seemingly constant appearances in the post season and it's bred some resentment.

But, for all their criticisms, the Redbirds embody the idea of "acting like they've been there before." And they're behavior on the field stands in sharp contrast of the Dodgers.

Yasiel Puig's dramatic throw of his bat and thrusting his arms upward with fists clinched as he watched his blast off Adam Wainwright come nowhere close to clearing the right field wall would have earned him a fastball to the noggin in the 1960s or 70s. 

I would have loved to see him go down like a sack of laundry after Bob Gibson put one between his shoulder blades after such a stunt.

The faux pas did nothing for his humility because Puig continued the wild gestures and general hot dogging at third base where he arrived -- not because of his hustle or effort but because St. Louis rightfielder Carlos Beltran misplayed the bounce off the wall.

In a previous era of baseball the wrath of his own teammates for such a display would have been worse than what he could expect from the opposition. If Beltran played that ball cleanly off the wall and Puig was held to a single instead of making it to third, he could have cost his team a chance to score because of his selfishness. Did he realize how he risked hurting his team? Did he care?

But instead of the Dodgers veterans trying to tone down Puig, even Adrian Gonzalez, typically a pretty respectful and straight up guy, got into the clown show by making those stupid hand signs to his dugout after collecting a double. Please.

This isn't sour grapes. The Dodgers won the game Monday night fair and square. It's just a bemoaning of the NFL-ization of Major League Baseball.

Just like a NFL linebacker who gets up after making a tackle after an eight-yard gain and does a little dance or a rookie receiver who puts on his own personal Mardi Gras in the endzone after cutting his team's deficit to 42-7, it seems like about half of MLB players can't collect a seeing-eye single without showing up the pitcher with a choreographed sideshow.

I'm not opposed to a genuine display of emotion. If Puig's hit came in the bottom of the ninth and pushed the winning run across the plate, by all means, party like it's 1999. But in the middle of a game that is still up for grabs with your team behind 2-0 in the series, his routine was completely tasteless.

Poor sportsmanship is the cause of tension and ill will that leads to players getting hurt in retaliation.

Critics can say what they want about the Cardinals. But at least when they win they don't rub it in other team's faces. The Cardinals have lost with dignity. And they have won -- a lot -- and have fortunately taken the high road. I couldn't imagine Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday or Allen Craig standing at the plate to admire a home run or holding their arms out like the Brewers did to represent "beast mode" in 2011. And for that I am grateful.

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