When it comes to team merchandizing, Yasiel Puig already has surpassed the most popular Los Angeles Dodgers of the past. And this is a franchise, in a city, which knows how to maximize hype. Puig is bigger than Mannywood, bigger than Fernandomania, bigger than Nomo...mania.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes:
The Dodgers sold more Puig-related merchandise from Thursday to Sunday than they had ever sold of any player over a four-day period -- more than even Manny Ramirez, Fernando Valenzuela or Hideo Nomo, according to a team spokesperson.
The team sold approximately 3,000 units of Puig-related merchandise in that four-day window, including 1,600 t-shirts ($28), 400 “Viva Puig” t-shirts ($28) and 600 jerseys ($225 for the authentic version, $110 for the replica ones).
“He’s a real exciting player that drives merchandise,” said Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ chief marketing officer. “He’s a good-looking guy, great personality. What he does in the batter’s box, what he does on the field, he’s a five-tool player. He energizes the crowd.”
Make that a "six-tool" player: He also sells stuff people want to buy. Hey, who knew Puig would be named NL Player of the Week for his first week in the majors?
Imagine if the Dodgers knew what marketing was when Jackie Robinson broke into the majors, or if Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale could have sold t-shirts of themselves holding out for money while they held out for more money. (I know, Sandy wouldn't care.)
Back to Puig: What about his baseball card? It's already hard to buy. And pronounce.
You could head to eBay and buy what's described as a "Leaf Metal Draft Yaisel Puig Prismatic Green Refractor Autograph" for $2,500. (Prism is very popular right now, too.) Whatever you do, don't put it in your bicycle spokes.
Or you could spend three or four bucks on something that probably won't ever be as valuable because it doesn't refract prisms.
Hernandez doesn't say by how much Puig eclipses Manny's, Fernando's and Hideo's sales. Perhaps we can surmise that his units sold aren't as much as those players combined — which only means there's room for the Puig hype machine to grow.