The Cuban Missle Crisis Comes To Los Angeles

I caught this image of Puig at the plate from my view in the Reserve Level, June 4th, 2013, right before Puig hit a lead-off double in the Bottom of the First.
I caught this image of Puig at the plate from my view in the Reserve Level, June 4th, 2013, right before Puig hit a lead-off double in the Bottom of the First.  (Photo Credit – Eric Becker)

By now, entire volumes have been written on Yasiel Puig’s first two days as a Los Angeles Dodger, and Dodger fans can’t seem to get enough of the young Cuban phenom.

The Cuban Missle Crisis.  Bay of Puig.  Puigmania.  “Que Viva Cuba!  Viva Puig!”  On the internet it’s all Dodger fans can talk about.

“We can’t send Puig down,” seems to be the general sentiment.  “Andre Ethier may be playing his final games in Los Angeles,” some are saying.  “Can you imagine what this lineup will be like with Puig, Crawford, Gonzalez, Ramirez, and a healthy Matt Kemp?” is another exclamation coming out of the mouths of several Dodger fans.

There seem to be two camps.  The “I told you so” camp: people who believe that Puig should have been a Dodger on Opening Day.  Then there’s the “wow…maybe I was wrong, maybe he should have been here on Opening Day” crowd.

Regardless of the nicknames and the buzz, it pales in comparison to the reality.

Yes, a dormant Dodger offense put 9 runs up on the board last night.  Yes, a Dodger team that was down 3-0 and 5-2 rallied to win 9-7.  And it was all about Yasiel Puig’s 2 home runs.  A day after showing off his arm with “The Throw,” Yasiel Puig launched “The Missle.”

Puig’s first career homer may have been a season changer in Los Angeles.  All year long the team seems to have failed to be able to get “the big hit” in clutch situations.  The Dodgers have had some comebacks, but its been a single here, a double there, a few walks.  The “one swing of the bat” moment has proven elusive.

Yasiel Puig seemed take out the entire teams’ offensive frustrations with “The Missle”, the 439 foot game-tying blast to left-center field in the bottom of the 5th inning.  The 3 run shot tied the game, but even moreso, seemed to awaken an offensive monster.  Hanley Ramirez, despite going hitless, hit a screaming sacrifice fly that might’ve been out on a warmer night.  Luis Cruz, the local folk hero who’s struggled all season, had a clutch RBI double to give the Dodgers a 7-6 lead.  Puig’s second home run screamed even louder than Hanley’s sacrifice fly.  Even when Carlos Quentin cut the lead to 9-7 with a solo blast off J.P. Howell, there was a sense that the Dodgers weren’t about to relinquish the lead.

How much energy has Puig infused into the Dodgers?  Brandon League pitched a perfect 9th and struck out two batters for the first time in anyone’s recent memory to pick up an easy save.

After only 2 games it’s unfair to put the weight of the franchise on the 22 year old Cuban phenom, but if you have a chance to get to Dodger Stadium during this 10 game home stand, get a ticket and go.  Yasiel Puig just might send you home with a “WOW” moment of your own.

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