It’s possible there is no clearer line of demarcation in anyone’s downfall than the one you can draw for Yasiel Puig’s Dodgers career.
The descent begins directly at his home run against the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2018 World Series and shoots downward immediately, both on and off the field.
Before that game ended, with a 4-0 lead squandered by Dave Roberts and the bullpen and a 3-1 series deficit staring the Dodgers in the face, the blast had already become a footnote. Later that offseason, Puig was part of a seven-player trade to the Cincinnati Reds, which eventually led him to Cleveland (in a trade for Trevor Bauer!) before he was blackballed from MLB and found his footing in Korea.
The reason for that exile went beyond performance; though rumors had long circulated, a report in December 2021 indicated that Puig had secretly settled two sexual assault charges during the 2017 season.
The once-promising outfielder’s MLB career already seemed finished once he made the leap overseas, bringing his KBO team within a few wins of the title this season in a series that wrapped just a few days back. That big-league ending has now been officially marked in ink instead of just drawn in the sand, as Puig pled guilty Monday to lying to the FBI regarding an illegal gambling operation he was a member of.
According to the report, he made 899 illegal sports bets in three months.
Dodgers won’t welcome Yasiel Puig back after federal gambling charge
Just a few weeks ago, Puig was making an effort to “Win for Vin,” carrying the inspirational Vin Scully’s legacy over to the KBO after the man’s mentorship helped him get settled in Los Angeles to begin his Dodgers career.
Now? Puig will likely never set foot in Dodger Stadium again.
Despite now having an official gambling partner, MLB isn’t kind to offenders in this realm — and should have already been quite unkind to Puig (to say the least) considering his prior offenses.
Worst than the gambling was the lying to federal agents, of course. Puig had an opportunity to be truthful to the feds about his bevy of bets placed during the 2019 season, which he spent with the Reds and Guardians. He didn’t disclose his behavior, and now he’ll go down for it.
According to federal investigators, Puig’s gambling debts were confined entirely to sports other than baseball. Ultimately, though, that won’t matter.
His fate should’ve been sealed long ago, but this matter will put any consternation to rest. Downfall finalized.