Over the weekend, Yasiel Puig hit the longest home run of his brief but already noteworthy career at Marlins Park in Miami when he went 452-feet to deep left center field. Naturally, that home run swing was punctuated by an exuberant bat flip, because if there was ever a time for a natural showman like Puig to bathe in his own glory, that was certainly it.
Now, fast forwarding to Wednesday afternoon in Washington. Puig returned to the Dodgers lineup for their 3-2 loss to the Nationals after missing two games following a violent wall collision on Sunday. As expected, he returned in usual Puig style, which includes another bat flip. Only this time it came on nothing more than a pop fly to medium deep center field. It didn't even have warning track power, and it wasn't squared up well enough to threaten getting over the center fielders head.
It was, in a word, routine. Nonetheless, Puig exaggerated the disposal of his offensive weaponry, which created quite a stir on social media.
For some, it was another example of Puig being Puig, which means he's out to disrespect the game every chance he gets.
— P Norton (@P_Norton) May 8, 2014
Others seemed to express vindication or some degree of satisfaction. Puig's brash style had backfired on him again and made him look foolish to the entire baseball world.
if u flip ur bat during a routine fly out u might be yasiel puig
— Darren Durant (@iselin90) May 7, 2014
And then there were those who were simply entertained, because that's why the majority of us watch baseball and sports in general to begin with, to be entertained.
— Nabae Asfar (@houndsoccer) May 7, 2014
It was another divisive issue instigated by perhaps the most divisive player in the league, but at some point we probably just have to come to the realization that not every Puig bat flip or exaggerated motion is worth a reaction, because it's just a part of who he is. He's a showman, yes, and in being that he's going to rub many people the wrong way — opponents included — every time he does it. But the more often he does it, the more we have to realize and accept he's not showing up a specific opponent or the game in general, he's just marching to the beat of his own drum, for better or worse.
Yasiel Puig flipped his bat on a WALK once, we probably all need to calm down a bit
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 7, 2014
The same could be said for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez — who I admittedly was far too critical of two weeks ago — and any number of pitchers who exaggerate their celebrations after recording an important out. They are what they are, and there's not a lot that can be said or done to tone them down.
When the actions start hurting their teams, that's when it truly becomes a problem. But if the players are willing to leave themselves open to that possibility, it's on them to figure out how they want to proceed. For the rest of us, we're better off just putting our feet up, enjoying the entertainment and saving our disdain for something or someone who actually deserves it.
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