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#pounditTuesday, September 29, 2020

Yasiel Puig says Reds teammates encouraged him to bat flip, celebrate

Yasiel Puig

A culture war in Major League Baseball has been ongoing regarding celebrations throughout the sport. Some players and fans like celebrations, while others are greatly opposed to it. The matter is especially divided along cultural lines, with humbleness and respect for the game/opponents part of the fabric of American baseball, while celebrations are encouraged and very much a part of the game in some international leagues.

Yasiel Puig is one of the players at the center of this issue, as he’s been rubbing opponents — and his own team at times — the wrong way with his celebrations and actions on the field. Puig understands this and tried to conform to the preferred style in MLB, but he says his Cincinnati Reds teammates encouraged him to return to his celebratory roots because they recognized it produced greater results.

Puig was in San Fernando, Calif. last week ahead of his Reds’ series against the Los Angeles Angels for the groundbreaking of “Puig’s House,” a community center his Wild Horse Children’s Foundation has pledged to create, maintain and remodel at Pioneer Park. Larry Brown Sports was in attendance for the event and spoke with Puig about multiple topics, including bat flips and celebrations.

He explained his stance on the matter.

“When we go to the field we want to do the best. We don’t intend to bat flip, but sometimes you do something that makes you excited, and the game is heated, and that leads to bat flips and my tongue out,” Puig told Larry Brown Sports. “Some people don’t like it but that’s the way I play. I tried to take it out and it wasn’t working for myself. My teammates said, ‘bro, we need you back. Do your thing and enjoy the game, do the things you did before and you’ll be fine and the team will be fine.’ When I started doing that, we won six in a row. We don’t try to disrespect anybody. The pitcher can strike you out three or four times, and we can only homer once or twice a game. If I homer and bat flip and the next time the pitcher strikes me out and yells at me, I won’t be mad.”

Puig is still beloved by many fans in Los Angeles despite being traded away by the Dodgers. His connection to the area is so strong that he is still working to help the local communities. When asked whether he missed Los Angeles, he said he missed his fans and friends but was happy in Cincinnati.

“I miss my fans and the friends I have in Los Angeles. Now I’m so happy with my new team and my new teammates and my new city in Cincinnati. Everybody has a good relationship over there,” said Puig.

Puig also said he was not too disappointed about his trade to the Reds because his main objective is to play baseball, and Cincinnati gave him that opportunity.

“I got on board (with the trade) quickly because I came to this country to play baseball. God gave me an opportunity to play six years in Los Angeles. I fell in love with the fans, I fell in love with the team, and everything about the city. But I came to this country to play baseball, and Cincinnati gave me the opportunity, and that’s the reason why I’m happy to be in Cincinnati and with my team,” Puig told Larry Brown Sports.

“I want to say thank you to all the fans here in Los Angeles to support me and miss me; I miss you too.”

Below is video of our interview:

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