The men who play baseball are fans of the sport too. The
"Watch him on TV, and you see he's good," Hunter said. "You see him in person, and now you see everything.
"You're like, 'Wow! That guy's got some talent.' Seeing him live, I can see it."
Hunter saw it up close, uncomfortably close, when he lined what looked like an easy double into the right-field corner. Puig played the carom off the wall, pivoted toward the infield, then fired to second base, a play so stunningly close that Hunter was called out on the field but confirmed safe by a replay review.
"I never change for anybody," Hunter said. "I'm always trying to take the extra base. If you're at a standstill, you can't move forward in life."
Hunter, who mans right field for Detroit, put on a straight face and tried to downplay Puig's play.
"Nothing special about that play," Hunter said. "Good bounce, right to him. He made an accurate throw. I've done that several times, and the guy was safe."
That was about the moment Hunter broke into his patented wide smile.
"I'm always going to test you," Hunter said. "But I ain't running on him no more."
After watching Puig in person, Hunter offered a glowing report.
"He loves to throw," Hunter said. "It's fun for him to throw. You can tell. He has a strong arm, and he knows it. He has great plate presence. He knows the difference between a ball and a strike. Some of his swings are vicious."
Some of his bat flips, too. The
Puig's debut on the All-Star stage will be among the major story lines at baseball's summer celebration. Among the others:
—The rosters for Sunday's Futures Game (MLB Network, 2 p.m. PDT) include two of the names most prominent in Dodgers' trade rumors — Class A Rancho Cucamonga teammates Julio Urias, 17, a precocious left-hander, and
—Price should attract a crowd to the Monday news conference, where every All-Star sits behind a table in a hotel ballroom and takes questions. For 45 minutes, Price should expect dozens of versions of "How do you feel about possibly being traded?" and "Would you like to play for [insert team here]?" His
—The Oakland All-Stars, ranked by name recognition from easiest to most difficult: outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, third baseman