L.A. Dodger right fielder Yaseil Puig, whose real full name is Yaseil Puig Valdez, was arrested by Florida Highway Patrol this in the morning hours of Dec. 28, 2013, for speeding.
According to a FHP press release, Puig, 23, drove a white Mercedes and was clocked going 110 mph. However, the speed limit on Alligator Alley where he allegedly did 110 mph is 70 mph. That’s 40 mph over the speed limit, and operating a vehicle traveling more than 90 mph. This alone guarantees a driver in Florida some time in a county jail. He was pulled over on Alligator Alley about 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Puig, a Cuban defector and a Major League Baseball star with a $42 million contract could not talk his way out of this. He was arrested and charged with reckless driving, taken to Collier County jail, spent about 3 1/2 hours behind bars, where eventually was released in lieu of a $500 bond.
According to Florida Statues, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, and it is unknown if a court date has been set.
Puig has been reckless all year, even during his time in the majors this year. I’ve seen him throw to the wrong base causing two runs to score, and it seems he wants to play his own brand of baseball, and not the teams. I believe that if he hand’t had the breakout season with his bat, he’s nothing more than a AAA minor league player, with some attitudes. Fourty-two million dollars worth.
And the LA Dodger organization is just as pissed – it is even in their statement, one that tells us Puig is immature, and by now should have learned the rules and laws, especially about driving. The statement printed in the Dec. 19 LA Times reads:
“We have spoken to Yasiel and made it clear that we, as an organization, are very disappointed in his recent behavior,” the statement reads. “This is a very serious issue to us and we will continue to educate him and strive to further develop his growth off the field and as a member of this community.”
The 23-year-old boy thinks he can do anything he wants. However, Florida is not a state you want to appear in court and not be a full-fledged U.S. citizen.
In Florida, you must appear in what is called a first appearance. Sometimes you can plead guilty there, pay a fine, and leave. However, this is a misdemeanor, punishable for up to a year in jail, and a fine that would be pocket change for someone making $42 million.
However, in most of the time while I was a reporter covering Crime & Courts, a green card does not guarantee you will stay in this country if you commit at least a misdemeanor. I’ve seen documented migrant workers deported.
Puig is not a stranger to reckless driving and being arrested. He was also charged in April 2013 charged with speeding, reckless driving and driving without proof of insurance, while he was playing in Chattanooga, Tenn.
How many of you reading this would have had these charges dropped? In the 35 years spent as a journalist, 6 years in law enforcement, and covering the Crime & Courts beat for more than 10 years, I have seen no one have these charges dropped.
Why do famous people, famous athletes, feel they can endanger others for their own selfish needs? Puig escaped going to jail and loosing his lucrative baseball contract the first time he was caught. Baseball, historically is more stringent when it comes to players getting in trouble, and they face large suspensions. Yet Puig continues to act in a reckless manner, as evidenced by his arrest by a Florida Highway trooper.
Now I wasn’t in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but I read that the judge was so impressed over the charity work he was doing in Los Angeles, that he dropped the charges due to community service. I wonder how much of that charity was spread to the children of Chattanooga?’
Otherwise, in my career, I have seen people fined and given parole to spending a year in jail. Rarely has a defendant had all three of those charges dismissed. There are cases where plea deals are made, where a state attorney dismisses the larger of the charges and the defendant pleads guilty to the other two.
For a few years, Puig had it made in Cuba. He was playing well, a baseball star, earning a bronze medal in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship. He did very well in the 2008 and 2009 Cuban National Series, and had a breakout season in 2009-2010 in the Cuban National Series, hitting .330, with 17 homers, and 47 RBI’s.
Also, Puig was jailed in Cuba for plotting to defect. And again when his second attempt failed. But this is matters for another story. Let’s say that in an attempt to gain favor with the Cuban government, someone else paid the price for Puig and is currently serving a 7 1/2 year sentence in a Cuban prison.
However, things did not go well for Puig, for in 2011. He tried to defect with teammate Gerardo Concepcion. His teammate was successful, but Puig was caught, and part of his punishment he was not allowed to play any baseball in Cuba for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
In 2012, while still suspended, Puig made another attempt to defect, and this time he was successful. He established a residency in Mexico to be eligible to become a free agent, and in a short time afterwards the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Puig on June 28, 2012, to a seven-year $42 million contract. Puig, at 21, and only playing in the minors for less than three months, made his MLB debut on June 3, 2013, where he finished the season hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI.
And it can be argued that it was Puig’s recklessness and flaming out like he did in Cuba that lost the NL Pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals. He batted something like .223, and only had one extra base hit. In other words, PATHETIC!
And yet, besides the two speeding and reckless driving incidents, things are also rocky for this baseball star and Miami, Florida resident. A lawsuit seeking $12 million from Puig says he and his mother lied to Cuban authorities about a plan to smuggle the player out of the country. On July 18, 2013, Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern Florida District.
According to court documents, Corbacho Daudinot claims that Puig and his mother acted as informants for the Cuban government to help Puig get reinstated in Cuba’s National Series league, its equivalent to Major League Baseball in the United States.
The complaint says that in 2010, Puig and his mother testified that Corbacho Daudinot was involved in human trafficking, and helped Puig defect the first time he was caught. And based on their testimony, Corbacho Daudinot was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Corbacho Daudinot denies ever speaking with, meeting with, or knowing who Puig was.
If Puig was such a star in Cuba, which would elevate his status within the Cuban class system, why leave? Many Cuban players finish their career as stars to the public, much like marquee players and actors enjoy in the United States.
So why leave? For $42 million dollars. Puig didn’t know he would get that much money when he defected, but knew he was good enough to make more money playing in the U.S. than in Cuba.
At times, Puig played with a reckless abandon, even though he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting. Or maybe it was because of it he didn’t win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
However, his apparent reckless abandon driving has to stop, for his sake, and others on the road. I personally witnessed and almost was involved in an accident on I-75 when a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer head coach reached speed of more than 100 mph, almost rear-ending me.
Just because you are famous, or make a lot of money, does not give you the right to endanger others by putting yourself in a situation that you are not trained for. Ask anyone who races cars in NASCAR or other professional organizations – even if you are trained to handle a car at high speeds, what happens when they encounter others who are not?
Since coming to the U.S. in 2013, he’ve been acting like a baby in a candy shop, and the LA Dodger organization is responsible for this, and must fix the problem, or get rid of it. For my prediction is that in 3 years, Puig will have flamed out, and is WAR will not even reach 1! He’ll just be a normal, replaceable player earning $6 million a year.
He did it in Cuba. He had it made there, but his self-destructive behavior was severely punished, that a current lawsuit by the man who claims Puig lied in court to curry favor with the Cuban government is languishing in a Cuban jail for 7 years.
However, Puig was not reinstated has he had hoped, and defected. He knows no other way, and it will take someone’s death at Puig’s hands for MLB, the LA Dodgers, and the press to WAKE UP and investigate him before making him a child’s hero. And we have seen many athletes who were idols to children burn in flames. This year at the Little League World Series, I did not hear Migel Cabrarro’s name mentioned as much as it was in the past two years.
The parents and the press are responsible, and need to be held accountable, along with the LA Dodgers, who should have left Puig in Mexico.