In Tuesday’s Dodgers-Tigers game, Detroit’s Torii Hunter led off the second inning with a long drive to right field. It caromed off the wall, at which point it was grabbed by Yasiel Puig, who threw a bullet to second base. Out! Great play by Puig!
Except, it wasn’t. An out, that is. After a (painfully long) review, the umpires changed the call to safe. Which doesn’t take away from the throw Puig made — it was fantastic, and a sharper tag at second might well have nailed Hunter.
What was odd, though, was that after Hunter was ruled safe, Puig then decided to give him a Mutombo-esque finger wag. As if to say, “Oh, no, don’t you dare test my arm.” Again, after Hunter was ruled safe. In other words, Hunter tested Puig’s arm, and won. Doesn’t seem like to best time to throw some visual smack in Hunter’s direction.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 9, 2014
Here’s the full play. (Warning: The review takes forever, so Puig’s finger wag doesn’t occur until the 4:16 mark.)
And this is hardly the first time Puig pulled a showboat move on a play that didn’t work out well for him. Who can forget his bat flip in Washington on a flyout to center field?
Not that I’m trying to condemn Puig, or anything. I’m definitely in the camp that finds his antics harmlessly entertaining, and very good for the game. In fact, it’s for Puig’s own sake that I’m concerned he makes himself look foolish when he breaks out a bat-flip or finger-wag on a play that doesn’t merit it. After all, Puig makes more than enough amazing plays that have positive outcomes that he can save his material for those occasions.
I’ll even cut Puig some slack for this moment from June, when the Dodger phenom was widely mocked for not only doing a bat-flip on a walk, but having it go awry and nearly clobber the catcher or umpire. I actually think he wasn’t doing one of his patented bat-flips, at all, but simply flubbing a standard toss toward the dugout. What do you think?