As manager of the National League squad, Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants has a lot of say in who makes the All-Star team. He’s not an autocrat, it’s not up to him alone, but he and Jim Leyland of the Tigers have more say than most people.
But if it were up to Bochy alone, at this time, he would not pick Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a recent interview with SiriusXM’s satellite radio duo of Jim Bowden and Casey Stern, Bochy splashed cold water on Puig appearing at Citi Field this July.
J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News was listening:
“Well, Jim, I’ve got to be honest here, that would be really hard for me to consider that. And I’ve already had that question. I guess there was somebody who wrote they would like to see him there and that he deserves to go because this game is for the fans and they want to see not just the best players, but the most interesting or intriguing players. I would have a hard time picking somebody who has been here three weeks, to be honest. The numbers would have to be so stupid that you say, ‘Ok I’ll consider it.’ But, you know, I couldn’t take away from a player who has been here and done it the whole half and been out there grinding every day and he doesn’t go. I couldn’t look at that player. I couldn’t look at myself, to be honest. So that’s why I’m saying, that’s a really long shot.”
Bochy, with his “sample size” reasoning, makes 99 percent sense, because Puig has only 60 plate appearances. But Puig also has fans’ attention like no other player right now. Something about getting on base half of the time and slugging five home runs and daring to take extra bases at unconventional moments and throwing to any base at any time on defense and Cuba. Puig firing lasers all over the field has people in a stir.
But Bochy isn’t paid to be impressed. He’s paid to make the right decisions. And not picking Puig, even in another three weeks when the picks need to be finalized, is probably the right thing for Bochy to do. No matter that we can’t decide as a society if the All-Star Game is supposed to mean something or not.
But if Puig is still putting up ridiculous numbers in three weeks, MLB will feel pressure to make Puig one of the Final Vote guys, and if they do, we’ll probably vote him in anyway. It’s called circumvention, Bochy!
And if that doesn’t work out, there’s always just bringing Puig to Citi Field for his own All-Star event. Slap some goggles on him, hand him a paint-gun rifle and make him navigate a “Superstars” — like course with ninjas and a ManBearPig to wrestle and Hall of Famers throwing batting practice and a Tony Bosch-like villain to foil with a legal brief and a Green Monster replica to climb and Wrigley Field ivy to escape from and a damsel in distress to save.
That way, we all get what we want. Puig firing off his lasers at the All-Star Game and Bochy isn’t coerced into sending him into the game.