This was originally published in The Athletic ....
Yasiel Puig has been brought to Cincinnati to take advantage of whatever it is that makes Great American Ballpark such a haven for hitters, and if his bat doesn’t produce, whatever else he does or says really won’t matter. But months before he suits up for the Reds in a game that matters, he’s already had an impact, energizing fans with his personality, and maybe more than anything, actually showing some enthusiasm for wanting to play here.
You couldn’t blame Puig if he dragged his feet toward Cincinnati, coming from the bright lights of L.A. and a franchise that he’d played in two World Series with to laid-back Cincinnati and a team that last finished somewhere other than last place in 2014. He’s instead not only embraced his new team but seems very willing to take on the tall task of not only bringing some personality to the team but giving fans reasons for excitement.
It’s almost hard to explain to those who haven’t been paying attention, and admittedly, social media isn’t always the proper gauge for taking the public’s temperature, but there’s a buzz for this team. And Puig specifically is what’s been absent around here for a long, long time. It’s little stuff, but it’s meaningful. Instantly changing his Twitter avatar moments after the trade was announced. Making the rounds during a visit to Cincinnati last week, i ncluding a stopover at the Reds’ Urban Youth Academy . Posing in his jersey. Shooting videos, and being wrong about the cold, in his new team’s colors . Talking playoffs. Making us believe. At the very least, making us care.
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic .