For the second time in two weeks, Yasiel Puig has angered the baseball establishment and the traditionalists who run it. Last week, it was a middle finger to heckling fans after a homer, this time it’s admiring a homer too long for the New York Mets’ liking.
This isn’t an uncommon bit of Unwritten Rules Theater in baseball, where tradition states players not celebrate their accomplishments on the field. So here we were again Wednesday night. Puig was up against Mets pitcher Tyler Pill in the fourth inning and annihilated a pitch for a three-run homer, part of the Dodgers’ 8-2 win.
It was an impressive shot and Puig took notice. He watched it from the batter’s box for longer than most hitters would, then he took his time rounding the bases. The Mets had intentionally walked Joc Pederson to get to Puig, so that might have informed his decision to rub it in. The home-run trot was timed at 32.1 seconds, the second-longest in MLB this season.
As he rounded first base, Puig had an exchange with Wilmer Flores and at the plate had some words with catcher Travis D’Arnaud. After the game, we learned Puig-Flores exchange went a little something like this:
Wilmer Flores was upset that Yasiel Puig admired his homer. "I told him to run the bases." What did Puig say? "F— you."
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) June 22, 2017
Here’s a closer look at Puig’s reaction to the homer:
Yasiel Puig's home run staredown and trot took 32.1 seconds, second-longest in MLB this year. Looked like Wilmer Flores said something. pic.twitter.com/exN5LqpPIz
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 22, 2017
The whole thing caused a fuss because baseball is baseball. Between innings, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Reyes, two Mets players with unimpugnable character, stopped Puig and talked to him about home-run trot. Puig recapped for reporters:
“After I talked to Cespedes, he told me, `Try to run a little bit faster,’ and tried to give me some advice,” Puig said through a translator. “I don’t look at it that way, but it is what it is.”
The thought of Cespedes or Reyes lecturing Puig on being emotive on the field is pretty funny. pic.twitter.com/aRrX9L0IWP
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2017
Flores was pretty blunt in his postgame criticism of Puig, but also probably revealed his real frustration. He told reporters: “I don’t think [Puig] knows what having respect for the game is. We’re playing horribly right now. We don’t need his s—.”
Ah, yes, the Mets aren’t very good. They’ve lost three in a row and six of seven. That’s frustrating. That makes things like Puig’s homer hurt more. But maybe the Mets should be more concerned with their pitchers giving up home runs and less about how Puig reacts when the Mets walk someone else to face him and he consequently sends a pitch to Pasadena.
Is there a bit in the unwritten rules about whether a player gets extra celebration time after the other team intentionally walks the hitter before him? If not, someone should get Yasiel Puig a pen and let him author an amendment.
Nonetheless, you can expect a lot of people to be angry at Puig again for taking a second or 32 to admire a job well done. The Mets and Dodgers meet again Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Puig might even catch a fastball in the ribs because the Unwritten Rules are what they, for better or worse.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• President Trump commits a major golf no-no
• Troubling new report about Phil Jackson, Knicks
• Dan Wetzel: Warriors’ dominance has NBA going wild
• Raiders QB becomes highest-paid player in NFL history