Last week Yasiel Puig raised some eyebrows when he said that he considered the St. Louis Cardinals to be the Dodgers’ primary rival, not the San Francisco Giants. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was on a radio show yesterday and responded:
“He’s just young. He’s just young and dumb and he’s gonna say some stuff,” Krukow said on KNBR 680-AM Monday morning. “As a group, I doubt if they are gonna be talking about it openly but they are gonna be thinking about it. They don’t miss stuff like that … if there was any way to refocus a whole group with a World Series hangover, this is it. Thank you Yasiel Puig.”
Probably worth noting that Puig has had his only two big league seasons ended in the playoffs by the Cardinals so, just maybe, it makes some sense for him to consider them his team’s biggest rival, even if fans and folks who have been around longer think of it as the Giants.
Also: probably worth noting that historical rivalries are functions of fan bases more than anything. Which is why players generally don’t get too bent out of shape about guys like Brett Butler or Dusty Baker or whoever playing for both ends of a rivalry. Stuff that happens on the field, not the laundry they wear on their backs, is what motivates players.
For Puig, losing to the Cardinals likely looms way larger in his competitive consciousness than something that happened between the Dodgers and the Giants years before he got here.