Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig joined the list of supporters for Bryce Harper and his “make baseball fun again” campaign, telling ESPN that players should be allowed to show emotion on the field.
Harper made news when he wore a hat emblazoned with the phrase during a locker room interview in early April. Since then, Harper’s feelings have gained backers from around the league, including Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto.
Puig has been known to play the game with flair, and said he is fully behind Harper.
“Bryce Harper is my idol now. I'm going to join him in the ‘make baseball fun again’ campaign; I'm just waiting to get my shirts and baseball caps,” Puig said. “He’s always been a great friend and a great athlete, and I admire him. I like how he plays the game, and I think he gets it. It’s good to see an American player saying that there needs to be a little more fun in baseball. Fans leave everything behind to come and see us play. We have to make baseball fun for the fans and not take everything so personal.
“It’s not about Harper or Puig making noise about it. In baseball, it is more common for a pitcher to punch you out three times than for you to hit the ball out of the park. So after you have struck out three times against a pitcher and you finally get a home run, bat flips are just an emotional expression—not about taunting the pitcher. That’s what Jose Bautista did [in Game 5 of last year’s ALDS]; he changed the result of that game with that swing. It was a big thrill for him, and he flipped the bat. He has always been a respectful player and only flipped his bat when he was overcome by emotion. Afterward, he was criticized as if what he did was wrong. But he had fun!”
Puig is still looking to regain the form of his rookie season when he took the league by storm. He is batting .243 with three home runs and 12 RBIs so far this season.