SBD/July 12, 2013/Media

Puig Has Heated Exchange With Reporter Amid Ongoing Struggle To Deal With Media

Questions about Puig's time in Cuba has been a particularly sensitive topic
Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig continued his struggles in dealing with the media Thursday, as he and 3B Juan Uribe had a "heated confrontation with an ESPN reporter" prior to the team's game against the Rockies, according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. The incident "eventually became so loud," Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez "turned the clubhouse stereo all the way up in an effort to keep Spanish-speaking reporters from understanding what the three men were arguing about." Puig has "not been shy in talking about his disdain for reporters, which apparently runs so deep the Dodgers media relations staff has adopted a special policy for him." While all other players "can be approached with questions before games, Puig is off-limits." That policy was "altered slightly Thursday after Puig finished second in voting for the All-Star Game, with the Dodgers arranging a pregame interview with a small group of journalists." But after a half-dozen questions, Puig "cut the session short and left the clubhouse for an adjoining room that is closed to the media." ESPN "had reporters following Puig on the Dodgers' recent three-city road trip," and Thursday's "confrontation stemmed, in part, from an incident in San Francisco on Sunday when Uribe urged Puig to either speak to reporters or tell them to leave" (L.A. TIMES, 7/12).

CAMERA SHY: Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten on Wednesday said of Puig, "He's very wary of the media. This is a brand new thing. ... Invariably when media come in they can't get too far into the interview before they want to know about the background, about Cuba, coming out of Cuba, how he got from there to here. Those are things he just does not want to revisit, probably for some very good reasons I suppose. So he's vary wary of the media -- learning what works, what doesn't work. We're working through those." Kasten added of ASG voting, "This past week, he could have really helped himself if he was really interested. As voting was going on, he could have been doing the morning shows, every interview -- but that's not him" (DAILY NEWS.com, 7/11).

EARLY DAYS YET: ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said Puig needs to be more mindful of the media, but "are we going to bring the hammer down on him because he's not? I'm not about to do that. He's 22 years old, he's only been in this country less than a year." ESPN's Pablo Torre said, "You must respect and be accessible to the public if you're a public figure and the press is, of course, the proxy for the public." Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said the Dodgers have "Spanish-speaking people ... in the organization who can help him with this process. It really takes, what, three minutes after a game or before a game -- five minutes tops -- to answer a few questions and that's all people are really looking for." ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said, "None of us can really relate to what he's going through in this entirely different environment." Gutierrez: "Give him an adjustment period and eventually, I'm sure he'll be comfortable with the whole situation" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/10).

BRISTOL BIAS? USA TODAY's Ray Glier reports while media "waited in an auxiliary clubhouse under Turner Field" for news on the winner of the NL All-Star vote, a "mobile alert from ESPN was passed around." The alert read, "Breaking News: Yasiel Puig Not Voted to All-Star team." There were "snickers from local television hosts and immediate ridicule for ESPN for not mentioning the winner," Braves 1B Freddie Freeman. Braves 2B Dan Uggla said, "Are they not supposed to be impartial as a news outlet?" (USA TODAY, 7/12). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes if ESPN were broadcasting the All-Star Game, coverage of Puig "would have made Tim Tebow look like Tiny Tim." There are all "kinds of perceptions out there that ESPN can get things done when it needs to for its own benefits." Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said he thought "it's interesting people perceive ESPN promoting a game that's on Fox as having some kind of push. ... It would be fun if he got in. But I don't think there's a particular pushing happening one way or another" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 7/12).
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