Papelbon vs. PuigPhillies closer takes exception to phenom's All-Star candidacy
On Tuesday, the Phillies closer said in an MLB Network Radio interview that Yasiel Puig's candidacy as an All-Star was an "absolute joke." Papelbon cited his short time in the league as the reason why.
Let me ask you this though, Jonathan. Do you know that there is a difference between an All-Star Game and an Old-Timers' Day? Because there is. The All-Star game should be filled with just that … STARS. It's not an honor that is earned over long careers. In fact, it should have nothing to do with how long you've been in the league whatsoever. If you're a star, and you're also one of the best players in the league statistically, you should be an All-Star. And the chances are you will be, because remember… it's up to the fans.
Oh, and Jonathan ... guess what the fans don't care about at all? How long you've been in the league.
Fans do care about this whole "greatness" thing. And so far, Puig has been great. He is hitting .443 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs in 106 at-bats. Unfortunately for the Yankees fans out there, that's the batting averages of Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner combined. He's also tremendously quick (has stolen four bases already) and has a freakishly strong arm in the outfield. But if you're describing Puig in a non-statistical way, he is simply fun to watch. He stretches singles into doubles, he hits the ball hard to all fields, and generally possesses an athleticism that is hard to find nowadays in the sport of baseball.
Papelbon's argument is that Puig has played for less than a month, so he is doing veteran players an "injustice" by making the team. Well, Jonathan, you are a closer, my friend. Which means that you have played in 31 innings this year. Puig, on the other hand, has played in 231 innings this year. Which happens to be the same number of innings that Papelbon has played since 2010. By the end of this season, barring injury, Puig will have played in more innings this year than the entirety of Papelbon's career.
Baseball desperately needs Yasiel Puig because he's different. If Puig had grown up here in the states, he would probably be a point guard in the NBA or a running back in the NFL. His athletic talent is something we don't get the chance to see in baseball anymore, so do the people a favor who only have basic cable outside of Los Angeles. Let them see this kid play in the All-Star Game.
If you don't think he's going to help the National League win, you're crazy. If you don't think that he'll get more people to watch the game itself, you're nuts. And if you think that Jonathan Papelbon only said what he said because his team has no chance to benefit from the homefield advantage, you're absolutely right.