Cincinnati Reds: Yasiel Puig writes the next chapter in rivalry with Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 07: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds is restrained by Matt Kemp #27 after benches clear in the fourth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 07: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds is restrained by Matt Kemp #27 after benches clear in the fourth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Following an attempt by Chris Archer to hit Derek Dietrich, Yasiel Puig attempted to come to the rescue of his Cincinnati Reds teammates by taking on the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team by himself.

You could almost see some sort of shenanigan happening on Sunday with the combination of Clint Hurdle and Chris Archer being on the opposing bench. The Cincinnati Reds, mired in a very disappointing 1-7 start, were the powder keg waiting for a match to be lit. It was lit alright, and Yasiel Puig took exception to his teammate being the target of a hit job by Hurdle and Archer.

Hurdle had actually behaved himself during this series, but the first time something did not go right for the Bucs, Hurdle turned into that old familiar bully on the playground. This time around though, Yasiel Puig stepped in to be the hero who was no longer going to allow Hurdle to continue to take his teammate’s lunch money.

By now we know the story, Derek Dietrich parked a two-run bomb out of PNC Park, bouncing the ball into the river behind the stadium. At the time it gave the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 lead in a season where they had  already been shut out three of their first eight games.

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Dietrich admired his shot; I cannot say that I blame him. However, on his next at bat, Chris Archer threw behind Dietrich. Both benches were warned, David Bell immediately erupted from the dugout to argue with the home plate umpire, but for a moment things appear to be under control.

However, that was when Yasiel Puig was seen barreling in a dead sprint towards Pirates’ pitcher Chris Archer. Credit Joey Votto (and Melky Cabrera) for containing Puig through most of the altercation.

However, the Wild Horse broke out of his stable, ripping himself free from Votto and Cabrera, and then basically running through Tucker Barnhart, perhaps one of the toughest players in the game. Puig was fully prepared to take on the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team.

Critics will say that Puig is living up to his reputation of being a hot head and a player who is out of control. What I saw today was a player who, like manager David Bell, is upset with losing, upset with his teammate being thrown at, and attempted to come to the rescue of not only Derek Dietrich, but the entire organization and fan base.

This took me back to a time when I was a kid during the summer of 1986. One of my all-time favorite Reds, Eric Davis, while stealing third base, did a pop-up slide into the bag that led to a brawl with Ray Knight of the New York Mets. Knight got the better of Davis in that instance, but it signified a team who refused to back down and set the stage for some pretty good baseball for the next decade.

Could this be the day, where on the flight back to Cincinnati, the leadership on this Cincinnati Reds team takes shape and says the losing of the past five seasons stops today? Only time will tell.

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Yasiel Puig surely cemented himself into Cincinnati Reds’ folklore with his outpouring of emotion yesterday. The fanbase was already excited when the trade involving Puig breathed life into this Reds organization. Yesterday, Yasiel Puig became a fan favorite for the foreseeable future.