So begins the Yasiel Puig era. Welcome to ... the Puigening. We'll oooh at every vicious swing, marvel disgustedly at every booming extra-base hit, and when he makes an error, the bleachers will bust out into a rendition of "Puig error a lot," sung to the tune of "We Care a Lot."
At least, they should.
Puig is coming up straight from Double-A, where he was hitting quite well. He demolished the Cactus League, too, so it's been a while since he hasn't harassed opposing pitchers in whatever league he's in.
I do so love this pair of quotes from Don Mattingly, though:
"You don't want to build him up to where it's impossible for him to live up to all the hype," cautioned Mattingly.
"But you saw with the Angels and Mike Trout last year, he came up and things completely turned around with what he brought to the table. It's unfair to say that happens here, but he could make a big impact."
"Now, I'm not saying he's going to be Mike Trout. I'm just going to mention his name, but if you want to make the connection, hey, that's on you. That would be totally unfair to expect even if it could really, really, really happen."
This is worth noting on a Giants site, though, because we're going to have to deal with this Puig fellow for years. We'll have to form opinions, make belittling Photoshops, and cycle through our hilarious barbs when he's in the outfield because I have a sneaking suspicion that Puig is, no joke, a bum, and that's what's a matter with him, and we should point this out because he might be really, really sensitive about it, and by drawing attention to it his performance might suffer. That's the plan, anyway.
This isn't a new thing, fearing new Dodgers. Jose Offerman and Kiki Jones were two of the best prospects in the land. Mike Marshall was supposed to be the next Harmon Killebrew. Paul Konerko and Carlos Santana were supposed to be the catchers of the future. Joel Guzman was once the #5 prospect in baseball. The year after that ranking, Andy LaRoche was #19. And they year after that, some weirdo named Clayton Kershaw was #7.
And there was also Matt Kemp. And Mike Piazza. And Adrian Beltre and Raul Mondesi and Andre Ethier. So while it makes me feel better to focus on the flops -- try it! -- they don't really have to do with Yasiel Puig at all. Maybe he's Mike Marshall, maybe he's Matt Kemp, maybe he's Eric Karros with normal hair and good speed. We don't know yet.
But I'm kind of scared. I liked it better when everyone hated Puig.
One executive called the deal "crazy." Several others were floored by the reported contract terms.
"I don't know," said one international director, echoing several of his colleagues. "I don't know what's going on in Dodger land. They must have seen something."
How dare the Dodgers evaluate him properly. Seems rude, as I was getting used to the idea of him being a Hideki Irabu-like flop. Instead, he's probably pretty good. And he's here. Should be fun, unless it isn't.