Puig and the All-Star politics

Let me just state my opinion right up front: I don’t like All-Star Games. I don’t find them very compelling or interesting. It feels like a fake game and the players don’t try very hard – and why would they? Who wants to get hurt in an All-Star Game? The game usually fails to hold my interest beyond the first few innings even with the advent of the home field advantage in the World Series, which always seems too distant to be relevant.

Enter Puig. I love irony and being the proverbial “fly in the punch bowl” – especially when it comes to the Giants. That is why I love what Puig did in the first and third games of the just concluded three-game series against the hated ones, which the Dodger swept. His 2 for 4 night on Monday (including an impossible opposite field home run and a game-winning RBI single) followed by his 3 for 4 night on Wednesday has put Mr. Bochy in a difficult position.

Since making his major league debut on June 3, 2013, Yasiel Puig has more 3 for 4 games (4) than he does 0 for 4 games (2). (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

Since making his major league debut on June 3, 2013, Yasiel Puig has more 3-hit games (6) than he does 0 hit games (4). (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

It is one thing to read the hype and see a few clips. It is another thing to experience the excitement of Yasiel Puig up close and personal. It is a fabulous roller-coaster ride of squeals, oohs and ahhs as well as sometimes covering your eyes. With his unbridled style of play and great physical talent, you know something compelling will occur but you don’t know where or when. I have to admit; I enjoy Puig rounding first on a routine single going just a little too far as if on every single he could stretch it into a double. I shouldn’t enjoy this from a baseball standpoint but I do. It is the baseball equivalent of running at full speed to the edge of the cliff and peering over the edge. He compels you to watch. This three-game sweep of the Giants was fabulous not only because, well… it was a sweep of the Giants, but because Puig’s performance places Bruce Bochy in a bit of a pickle.

At some point Puig is going to realize that trying to stretch every single into a double isn't necessarily a good idea, but until he does, he sure is fun to watch trying it. (Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

At some point Puig is going to realize that trying to stretch every single into a double isn’t necessarily a good idea, but until he does, it sure is fun watching him try – even if it is against all baseball logic. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

The All-Star selection process is pretty clear with the starters being determined by fan vote and one last minute reserve being voted on by the fans for each team (this may be how Puig actually gets in). The selection of the rest of bench has always been a little controversial, somewhat political, and less than scientific with a mixture of player’s association input and manager selection. It is not a simple gander at who has the best stats. The manager picks the people he thinks will fit into his strategy and those who are “worthy.” Many times a manager has a skewed perspective on this as he sees opposing players who do well specifically against his own team.

This is where the fun comes in as it relates to this series. We all know Bochy is the manager of the NL. Puig has single-handedly given him one loss and had a hand in two others. As a result Bochy will have to make a tough decision before July 9th. He has publicly stated over the past few days that he is not leaning towards selecting Puig in favor of someone who has played more games. We all know Puig’s stat line is ridiculous over a small sample size. I won’t repeat it. But if a phenom like Puig has just destroyed you in a series after all of the media hype, what would you do? Tip your hat to a great player on a rival team and add him to the roster giving him even more confidence? Categorizing him as an aberration further stoking even more Dodger hatred for the rest of the season? Ohhh, this is fun!

From a business perspective you have to put “butts in the seats” and “eyes on the TV.” That is how the money is made. Puig jerseys are flying off the shelf, he is pure excitement on the field, and he is a great story – a PR agent’s dream. Manias are good for business. People want to see him beyond the LA market which is very important. For a sport to extend beyond regional markets, it has to have recognizable stars and Puig is quickly becoming one. If this were up to MLB, I am sure Puig would be there.

Does Bruce Bochy want to win the All-Star Game to give the NL home field advantage in the World Series or is he more concerned with hurting somebody's feelings?(Photo credit - Ron Cervenka)

Does Bruce Bochy want to win the All-Star Game to give the NL home field advantage in the World Series or is he more concerned with hurting somebody’s feelings? (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

But in the end this is up to our good friend, Bruce Bochy. So Bruce, what is it going to be: what is good for baseball or what is good for the Giants? I love the irony. Don’t you?



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12 Responses to “Puig and the All-Star politics”

  1. Ron Cervenka says:

    Hey Robb – It looks like your Little League team really liked your article – haha!

    I am as old-school as they come and I certainly appreciate Bruce Bochy’s position, but the stakes have changed with this once mere exhibition game. It is now a must-win game to secure home field advantage for the World Series (and it is definitely an advantage). As such, it is now extremely important to win, so why not put the best nine out there to do just that?

    Somebody please introduce Bruce Bochy to the 21st century (and to Yasiel Puig).

    • bigbluebird says:


      With respect to the shameless promotion on Twitter, I can only humbly say in some remote parts of the world, I am famous – ha ha ha.

      I agree that Bochy is old school and feels that you have to put in your “dues” to get a spot. I am even more old school – I don’t like All-Star games! After all it is a “fake” game. But if you are going to have one, it should be compelling, have some drama and have importance not only for the world series but as a showcase for baseball as the national pastime. The MLB is always two steps behind when it comes to savy PR and creating legends. Puig is a HUGE story and should be given an opportunity not only because of his background but because of how he plays. Can you imagine Puig against Verlander or Darvish? That would be must-see TV!

      In the end, I think Bochy will not give him a spot through his selection, but that MLB may give Puig the opportunity to be on the ballot for the final reserve. Well, let me say that the MLB would be very savy in choosing Puig for the final spot voting. It would create quite a commotion.

      • Ron Cervenka says:

        Puig is BIG money and very marketable right now and if MLB chooses not to capitalize on it (via the ASG Final Vote), it will be a major fail by them.

        I think I mentioned it here on the blog site already (but I’m old and suffering from CRS) but there were fans at Yankee Stadium chanting “Over Rated” about Puig. Sounded funny coming from fans of the team paying A-Roid $275M.

  2. OldBrooklynFan says:

    I gave Puig write-in votes because I think he’s a great player and belongs there. We want to see the stars, the best players.
    I always loved this mid-summer classic because it’s just fun to watch.
    I am very disappointed because I don’t like the fact that it decides the home field advantage for a league in the World Series.
    I enjoyed it a lot more when it was strickly an exhibition game.

  3. KenS says:

    I agree with your point. I know the name of Mike Trout comes up when talking about Puig, though the “difference” is, of course, that Trout played in more games before being named an All-Star. Another factor, or so I think, is that the Angels caught fire and rapidly moved up in the standings after Trout was called up. On the other hand, when all the All-Star gibberish began, the Dodgers were only .500 with Puig in the line-up and they are still mired in the NL West cellar.

    I wonder if the “no selection” talk might have been replaced with the “well, you certainly have to consider him” if the Dodgers were winning before this week. And now that they are, I wonder if Bochy will be getting a few more phone calls from New York soon.

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