Picture the mood at Dodger Stadium if Yasiel Puig were ineligible to play for the Cincinnati Reds against the Dodgers on Monday night in his anticipated return.
Puig was slapped with a two-game suspension for his part in an April 7 tussle between the Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park — one that Deadspin.com entitled: “Yasiel Puig Tried to Fight All of Pittsburgh.” The headline was inspired by a TV screen shot framed and captured by renowned baseball data archivist, author and newspaper reporter Sean Lahman that resonated as a social media masterpiece — Puig straddling home plate, teammate Tucker Barnhart hanging onto his right leg, a sea of Pirates buzzing around him.
The classic poses captured facial grimaces and looks of angst, awash in mustard yellow and ketchup red, could have been a stage reproduction of “Les Miserables.”
Lahman asked on Twitter: If this was a Renaissance painting, what would it be titled?
We’ve whittled it down to a Top 10 list of suggestions:
“Puig de Resistance,” “Charge of the Red Legs,” “Puigington Crossing the Allegheny,” “W.A.R. Puig, Y. (2019) (oil on canvas) PNC Park, Pa.,” “The Fight of the Bumblebees,” “The Bay of Puig Invasion,” “La Danse Des Millionaires,” “War of the Condiments,” “The Passion of the Infield“ and My Bag of Skittles Explodes”
A company called Cincy Shirts already “commissioned” a manipulated version of the photo as a $27 T-shirt. They’ve captioned it “El Guerrero Rojo.”
Enough to make a Dodgers fan feel a bit azul?
No fight left in him
So why didn’t Puig file a protest against the suspension handed down by MLB chief baseball officer and one-time Dodgers manager Joe Torre?
“I don't want to talk to Joe Torre again because he's going to have his point, I'm going to have my point, and he thinks everything is explained for what he does,” Puig said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m not going to do nothing about that. He’s the boss. We only take the days because we're going to be on the phone for two hours and nothing is going to work.”
Pirates pitcher Chris Archer, who ignited the brawl by throwing behind the Reds’ Derek Dietrich, initially appealed his five-game suspension and pitched Saturday. On Sunday, he dropped the appeal and will start serving it.
Puig knows the process. He went through a two-game suspension with the Dodgers for a brawl he incited after he was baited by then-Giants catcher Nick Hundley. Puig appealed that one. He lost.
‘Wild Horse’ rides in on a white horse
The Dodgers celebrated a couple of Puig bobblehead days during his six seasons in Los Angeles — one of him with arms raised, another making a diving catch. The Dodgers’ minor-league Rancho Cucamonga Quakes had one of him doing a bat flip. MLB’s Forever Collectibles last year even issued one of him licking his bat. For $39.99.
The Reds announced last week a July 18 giveaway at Great American Ballpark — the first 20,000 get a tongue-wagging Puig bobblehead showing him excited to be atop a white horse with its front legs raised. The horse also is wagging its tongue.