Former Dodgers star Yasiel Puig uses his platform to speak out against racism.
Yasiel Puig, who made his debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers seven years ago today, posted a message on Twitter to raise his voice in support of the protests building around the country over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of white police officers in Minnesota.
"“Seven years ago today, I played for the very first time on a Major League Field,” Puig wrote. “I fought so hard to get here, America was a dream. Today, as I look back on that memory, and take account of everything that I have lived through since then, I want to speak up for the very first time about my personal experiences as a man of color.”"
Puig tried to defect from Cuba to Mexico 13 times in order to gain legal status on his way to the major leagues in America. Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, he developed into a star baseball player, leading the Cuban national baseball team to a bronze medal in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship.
After an incredible journey to escape Cuba, he eventually signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers.
"“I came from a country where I could not speak up, we could not express our thoughts and protests were and are a punishable act,” Puig said. “I want my black brothers and sisters to know that although I have had the privilege of playing on a national state, that privilege has not prevented me from feeling the sting of being an Afro-Latino man. My privilege has not afforded me the total escape others have preconceived notions about me based on the color of my skin.”"
The 29-year-old Cuban star used his platform to pay homage to protesters and those who have suffered from racism and police brutality.
"“Today, 7 years later, now a proud American Citizen, I will raise my voice and demand the necessary change,” Puig wrote. “It is time that everyone is treated with the respect that all human beings deserve. Black, brown, yellow or white – our hearts are what matter. Let’s keep taking these steps forward and give to our children the beautiful future they deserve.”"
Powerful words from Mr. Puig.
Yasiel Puig debuted in the majors with the Dodgers 7 years ago.
June 3rd is an important date to the outfielder as it is when he made his major league debut at Dodger Stadium. Leading off for the Dodgers, he blooped a base hit into left-center field in his first MLB at-bat. He ended up with two hits at the plate that night, helping Los Angeles defeat the Padres 2-1.
The right fielder would quickly become a sensation in Chavez Ravine, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2013, hitting an electrifying .319/.391/.534 with 19 home runs, on top of showcasing an amazing arm in the outfield.
If Major League Baseball institutes a universal designated hitter in 2020, former Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig could be in high demand.
The former Dodger is currently a free agent, with reports that he could sign with the rival Giants if the 2020 season resumes. With MLB ready to institute a designated hitter in the National League this season, it is possible teams in need of an extra hitter also explore the idea of signing Puig.