It was interesting to see Yasiel Puig in person for the first time Monday night at Busch Stadium.
The guy is definitely a huge talent, there's no getting around that. But he doesn't seem very interested in honing the finer points of the game.
He made several long throws that caused the crowd to ooh and ah over the course of the evening. No one seemed to notice that he constantly over-threw the cutoff man on several occasions, he made an error casually fielding a ball in the first inning that allowed St. Louis second baseman Matt Carpenter to get to third base and eventually score one of two runs the Cardinals would notch on the evening. Later he caught a pop-up running in to the infield then tried to flip the ball in one motion to his second baseman with his glove. The result was an errant "throw" which left the infielders scrambling after the ball while Puig strutted back to the outfield.
I wish the Redbirds would have tried to run on Puig late in the game when he held the runners to first and third with a 200-foot-plus throw to third base. The ball sailed over the head of the second baseman and shortstop who were prepared to cut it and, while it made it to the third sacker, it pulled him about 15 feet off the bag. If the runner would have kept going, he would have been safe. If the Cardinals would have pushed it, that play could have made the difference in forcing extra innings.
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The only runner the Dodgers actually threw out on an outfield assist came when Allen Craig was nailed on a play at the plate early in the contest. And that came on a relayed throw.
Several people near me in the crowd were discussing that "Rick Ankiel only wished he could throw like Puig." Doubtful. When Ankiel made throws from the warning track to third base on the fly they were also on the money.
I can't wait to see what happens with Puig's showboating style of play in the post season. It's cute when he disrespects his teammates -- like he did when he screamed at veteran Adrian Gonzalez for stopping at third base when Puig wanted an RBI. When the intensity and the level of play are turned up to 10, that style of play isn't going to fly.