An Attempt at Gonzo Journalism

I'm going to throw out a theory, and it's based on none other than understanding basic human behavior and putting yourself in Yasiel Puig's shoes. Yes, I know, how dare I try to humanize the most arrogant, outlandish, showboating rookie in the history of professional sports. Just bear with me, will you?

Dodgers / Jon SooHoo
Let's go back to Monday afternoon at Chase Field. You're on the field before the game near the batting cages. You're hanging out, probably talking about hitting and you're probably still a little peeved about your so-so performance the past weekend in San Francisco.

A clean cut 40-someting guy then walks up to you. You have no idea who he is, but he's wearing a
polo shirt and slacks, so he's probably an employee of the Diamondbacks. Maybe he's another reporter, but he's definitely not somebody I've seen with the Dodgers in six weeks, so why is he walking up to me?

The man introduces himself in Spanish. Gonzalez told Arizona Sports 620 he simply told Puig he was Luis Gonzalez, that's it. OK, so some guy named Luis Gonzalez just introduced himself to me. He speaks Spanish, but I can tell he's an American, and probably born and raised. Who is this guy and why am I talking with him? The co-host of Dodger Talk on AM 570 in Los Angeles confirms this much:

So, some guy who looks like he's with the Diamondbacks, but who definitely isn't a player, has just introduced himself with a common Spanish name. Then this man immediately explains to me that his parents are also from Cuba. He's trying to tell me that he and I have similar backgrounds.

You know about Cuba? Really? I risked my life multiple times to escape from that island. I've lived all but 13 months of my life there. As I grew older, my talents isolated me as I was under surveillance and even banned for a while in the Cuban leagues, probably because I was trying to escape so damn much.

I still have family and friends there, I really have no way to talk with them, and besides, this is all very personal and what happened to me there has no bearing on what I'm doing here today. Not 30 seconds ago, I was focused on hitting, now I've got a complete stranger trying to engage me on the topic of Cuba?

Why would I care about what this man has to say about an island he only knows about through stories shared from a generation ago? We have nothing in common and I have no interest in discussing my very personal struggle simply because he's one generation removed from people who lived in the same place.

This is where Mark McGwire stepped in:

At that point, it doesn't matter to me. This guy is bugging me about a sensitive topic, and I didn't even know or care about who he was 30 seconds ago. The fact that he won a World Series almost right where I'm standing doesn't suddenly make him my best friend and closest confidant. OK, thank you, I like baseball too, Cuba has nice winters, bye bye!

That's how an innocent icebreaker could have potentially rubbed Puig the wrong way and killed what little conversation there would've been. Perhaps Puig even thought Gonzo was pandering a little bit.

Unfortunately, Gonzo just couldn't resist the opportunity to parade himself around as a victim. He did multiple interviews extolling the immaturity of Puig, even saying on that radio interview that Puig was "ungrateful" for his newfound wealth. The leap of logic that man had to make to get from an awkward 30-second conversation to an unrelated, sweeping description is stunning.

Ultimately, if Gonzo's core argument is that Puig is immature and needs to learn respect, then I would offer that Gonzo is setting a pathetic example for Puig to follow. Not that anybody in the state of Arizona, other than me, would ever tell him that.

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2 comments:

  1. Spot on. When a white-washed 2nd gen Cuban, who won a WS with a division rival, wants to chat about your dark past in Cuba, you apparently are obligated to embrace him. If he played his cards right maybe Gonzo would've told him the secret to hitting 57 bombs after starting his career out with 9 bad-to-average years. Nobody outside of AZ cares about you Brady Ander...err, I mean Luis Gonzalez.

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    1. And even if Gonzo's intent wasn't to engage Puig on the topic but just get "in" with him, I honestly believe just doing that right off the top of a conversation is just going to be a turnoff for Puig and he'll just shut down.

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