OK, we get it: The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers don't like each other. They fought earlier this season after Ian Kennedy plunked Yasiel Puig in the face with a pitch, and the bad blood just keeps on flowing.
A mild confrontation on a play at the plate in the fifth inning occurred Tuesday night between Puig and D-backs catcher Miguel Montero. After a bit of contact (it was a tag play, after all) and Puig was called out, he looked back at Montero — who didn't like it.
Replays showed Montero giving the rookie a little finger-wagging, a la Dikembe Mutombo.
"He came in hard, he's playing the game hard," Montero said. "Just trying to score. I just tried to block the plate as well. You don't need to look at me if you get out. It's all right. He was out, that's all I care."
Puig's all-out style of play can be an irritant to opposing teams, and Kennedy referred to it when discussing the play at the plate.
"He plays with a lot of arrogance," Kennedy said.
There it is. Ian Patrick Kennedy, that is what we call "an escalation." Puig plays with "a lot of arrogance." Or: Puigtension. Impuigdence. Puigsumptiveness. Chutzpuig. He's got a big Puigo. Someday, IPK will have to answer for his ominous (if heavily veiled) words.
The game did feature each team getting hit with a pitch once — Kennedy hit Hanley Ramirez with a wayward changeup and Ronald Belisario hit Montero on the leg. Both sides seemed to shake off both plunkings as happenstance. However:
"It's not over, but that wasn't on purpose," Belisario said. "I don't like the way they keep talking, but it wasn't on purpose."
It's good, what Kennedy says, because most of the reaction to Puig's personality has been positive. Most people tend to think he errs on the side of enthusiasm rather than arrogance, so it's good to get a different opinion once in a while. Even if it's a from a potentially biased, ginger-bearded participant such as Kennedy.
UPDATE: And here's a nugget that backs up Kennedy's contention, via USA Today:
During batting practice before Monday's game at Chase Field, sources say Puig was approached by Luis Gonzalez. The former Diamondbacks star introduced himself, and began relating how his family also had roots in Cuba, just like Puig.
Except Puig wouldn't even look up or acknowledge his visitor. And for the record, Gonzalez was speaking Spanish, so nothing was lost in translation.
That does sound arrogant. It's also reported that Mark McGwire, the Dodgers batting coach, saw the interaction with Gonzalez go down and lectured Puig on why his attitude needed an adjustment. Boy, when Mark McGwire has to tell you to cut it out ... anyway. A lesson: Be nicer to old people.
So, until the Dodgers and D-backs meet again (it's actually tonight), please enjoy these public service messages on arrogance and what it means.
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