Saturday, April 05, 2014

Shelburne Early To Knock Puig's Tardiness

There's another great piece by Ramona Shelburne over at, in writing about Yasiel Puig's late arrival to the stadium, and subsequent benching for the home opener Friday:

"I could go without it," Mattingly joked, when asked what his tolerance level was for drama like this.

Johnson just smiled when asked how the days' events compared to some of what he has been through. "If this is all we've got to go through, we're OK," he said.

In other words, just grow up already. Knock this petty stuff off. Tighten up a little. Make it easy on yourself and everyone else. Cut the chaos.

Plenty of young athletes have issues with professionalism. Lamar Odom was a mess his first few years in the NBA with the Clippers -- constantly late and difficult to reach -- but he hired a trusted friend to drive him around and keep him on track and it stopped being a problem.

Puig sounded genuinely remorseful after the game. He apologized to the fans who'd come out to watch him play. He apologized to his teammates both in private and public. He took responsibility for his actions and didn't try to duck any of what was coming his way.

In the moment he said it, it genuinely felt like he meant it.

"Maybe I'm wrong, but I really felt like he felt really bad for being late," Mattingly said. "He was humble and he came in and told me he had a feeling he wasn't going to be playing once he got here."

Mattingly has had a controversial run as Dodgers manager, but while his play-calling and lineup choices provoke questions, his handle on the clubhouse personalities has always seemed to be pretty reasonable and fair. If he can keep Puig from sticking his head up his ass on and off the field, and truly bring out Puig's full potential, this would be a managerial coup. Let's see if this benching changes behavior.