We know Albert Pujols isn't fast. It was proven twice last week when Manny Machado nailed him at first base with great plays at third. We also know that Pujols could barely run last season because of a foot injury.
With all that in mind, you can almost understand why Yasiel Puig didn't figure Pujols was a threat on the base paths during the Los Angeles Angels-Los Angeles Dodgers game Monday night. Pujols may not be fast, but he showed Puig he's still very much an alert ballplayer, the kind of guy from whom Puig can stand to learn a thing or two.
In the eighth inning, Pujols tagged up at first base and advanced to second on a deep fly ball to center field. Puig caught the ball as if no one was on base. We know well his love for throwing out baserunners, so the fact that he caught the ball so nonchalantly signaled he wasn't really worried about Pujols.
After Pujols slid into second, Puig glared toward him, looking well aware of the fact that Pujols had made him look like a fool. Later in the inning, Puig motioned to Pujols that he should try to take third base, but that didn't happen. When the inning was over, Puig passed Pujols on the field. The two exchanged words and Pujols went back the Angels' dugout mocking Puig with a series of hand gestures and facial expressions.
Puig said after the game, per MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez:
"Why would that bother me? He was doing a great job. I've done the same thing."
Albert Pujols on Puig motioning him to go to third: "It's alright. He can have fun. I'm having fun, too. He can do whatever he wants."— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) August 5, 2014
As proof of how out of character this play was for Puig, just a few innings earlier, he caught a fly ball and tried to double off Erick Aybar at first base. They both waved their fingers at each other Mutombo-style afterward.
Pujols' one-upping of Puig put the finger-waving battle back in favor of the Angels (who also won the game 5-0). Check out Mike Trout's reaction here:
You know things have gotten good when the mild-mannered Trout joins in on the trash talk.
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