Los Angeles Dodgers: Fans shouldn’t boo Yasiel Puig

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds poses for a portrait at the Cincinnati Reds Player Development Complex on February 19, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds poses for a portrait at the Cincinnati Reds Player Development Complex on February 19, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers traded one of the team’s fan-favorites this offseason in Yasiel Puig, whose image with Dodger fans has quickly turned sour.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made a shocking move this offseason when the team traded Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds for a salary dump in Homer Bailey and two prospects.

At the time it appeared as if the Dodgers were gearing up for something special; that the team was freeing up money to sign Bryce Harper.

That obviously has not happened and while the team did sign A.J. Pollock, it could have cleared up close to as much salary cap space but cutting Kemp, trading Wood for a prospect and keeping Puig.

It might seem unclear who won the trade to some (it appears to be the Reds) but what has been clear is that Dodger fans have grown sour on Yasiel Puig pretty quickly. This coming just months after Puig hit a towering three-run moon shot, which should have shifted the momentum (and potentially the outcome) of the World Series.

And that is the first problem regarding Puig and Dodger fans: he openly questioned Dave Roberts‘ decision-making despite not mentioning his name.

Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated wrote an excellent piece on Puig and his transition to Cincinnati. In that piece, Puig openly criticized the decision-making, which is why he believes the Dodgers did not win the World Series in either year.

"“We didn’t bring in our best pitchers, and when we had our best in, we took them out, or we left them in too long. That’s why we lost.”"

That apparently didn’t sit well with fans despite it being the exact same reason why many fans wanted to see Dave Roberts get fired, which also was not just.

Puig also said in that article that he did not understand the trade because the Dodgers did not get anything in return that could help them as he could. And he is right, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

Suddenly the script has been flipped on Yasiel Puig in Los Angeles. Despite Puig constantly saying that he will miss the fans in LA and he still loves him, there is a growing community that is starting to dislike him like much of the league did while he was a Dodger.

The guy that they spent so long defending is now the guy some fans hate. The guy that was defended after he flipped off fans, crotch-chopped in the postseason and wagged his tongue out like a dog is the same guy that is not getting the same love.

This is not true for all Dodger fans. Puig got a nice ovation in his return to Camelback Ranch and likely will get one last “PUIIIIIIIIIIIG” chant in his first game back at Dodger Stadium before the boos rain down.

However, there is a growing community online that is starting to become anti-Puig.

And that really should not be the case. While he was a headache at times and was not perfect, he was one of four players to be on the Dodgers in all six years of the postseason run; a run that started when he made his debut in May of 2013 to spark the Dodgers to an insane second half.

He said some things that were on his mind and you have to commend him for that. Puig has never been someone to lie through his teeth and has always worn his emotions on his sleeve.

And let us not forget, the Dodgers are who introduced him to the United States, who gave him the opportunity to create a new life for him and his family. Of course he is going to be hurt by this trade. For Puig, the Dodgers are much more than baseball. The team legitimately changed his life.

He came into America in his young 20s not fully yet matured without much of an idea of how baseball is played (slow) in America. There were speed bumps along the way but Puig has matured immensely since his debut in 2013.

You don’t have to love him. You do not even have to cheer for him. You should respect everything he has done for the Los Angeles Dodgers, for the community and everything else connected to his Wild Horse Foundation.

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It is time for the Los Angeles Dodgers to move on from Puig, we have all come to grips with that. That does not mean that we have to hate him as a player.