Cosmopolitan city of nearly four million people and huge highways, which seen from above resemble cobwebs strokes. A city accustomed to the eccentricities of socialite Kim Kardashian, the sex scandals of Kobe Bryant, the bickering of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Hollywood debuting new films or revealing stars on the walk of fame. That is the city of Los Angeles, where their people can live their 15 minutes of glory.
For hosting major sports clubs, it is not surprising that several of the best players chose the city to extol their careers. Shaquille O’Neal, David Beckham, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Lisa Leslie attest to this. However, dealing with the press, public, history, fame and the lights of LA is not an easy task.
To this city located in southern California, came on February an unknown boy, no fixed abode, with a bad English, but he brought in his suitcase, along with a bat and a ball, the desires to shine in the firmament of the majors. At just 22, Yasiel Puig, a Cuban from the province of Cienfuegos, arrived at the historical squad of the LA Dodgers, the challenge was just beginning .
Puig began killing pitchers in spring training. The gestures of his instructors were evident: The sneaky smile, whispers in the ear, thumb up, head down, like someone looking for a pearl lost in the fieldconfirmed that Puig was here to stay. The pearl was not lost; it began to be polished to become a diamond.
He had to wait for debuting. With tears in his eyes the Cuban accepted the team’s decision of sending him to the minors, despite his outstanding performance in the preseason. April and May passed. The Dodgers´ expectations of winning the World Series began to crumble, when occupying the bottom of the table of their division. His famous players, among injuries and poor performances, could not assert the status of favorite of the second team with the most expensive payroll in baseball.
Then June came and so, Yasiel Puig´s option. Does the young Cuban could do what monsters like Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw failed to do ? Pair of homers in his second game, two days later he hit a home run with bases loaded. Fabulous! Puig became the third player since 1900 with three homers, including a grand slam, in the first four games of his career.
Los Angeles has its new star. Comparisons came quickly. The old legends of the Dodgers said they have not seen a player like him. And the fans of this team have seen Jackie Robinson stealinghome, they have also watched four no-hitter by Sandy Koufax, and witnessed when Kirk Gibson hit one of the most incredible home runs in baseball history with both knees injured.
But “Machine Gun” Puig, as baptized in Cuba, was not content with four games. Can he hit over .300? No! The star from Cienfuegos reached .300, continued to .350, reached .400, flew to . 420 ofaverage and … after 20 games he remains at .425.
He is not only good at bat; he already showed his strong arm by taking more than one rival out. Because of his speed he incites debates suggesting him to try in American Football when the seasonends. Can you believe it? A Cuban leaving behind rivals in U.S football! Puig comes out of the mold, or rather, for the moment he seems not to have a mold.
Not only his results are discussed on the news of MLB, ESPN, FOX or any other television network. He does not take photos with the stars of his team; the stars want to take snapshots with him. Puigchanged the face to a dying team; he gave oxygen to continue the fight. He filled them with the joy and charisma of Cubans and also with the baseball talent that runs through our veins since the nineteenth century.
Fans have reasons to admire his new idol. I am sure more than one word googled the word ¨Palmira¨ to locate where he was born. Puig laughs at the press, flashes do not affect his performance, there is not pressure on his 6’3 height, he visited New York and the city paid him honor to him like if he were a legend and … Puig continues as usual.
Despite not having the needed at bats, his presence in the upcoming Star Game is being discussed. This is Yasiel Puig, destined, apparently, to any of his action generates debates as if they werepresidential summits. His journey is just beginning, perhaps to Cooperstown, though it seems very soon, very soon to talk about it. However, most of the dwellers of the house of baseball legends had astart at the height of the one Yasiel Puig has had.