Daily Distractions: More on Yasiel Puig, and when the media glare becomes too bright.

Yasiel Puig ESPN
We in the media wrote a lot about Yasiel Puig yesterday.

If anything, you’d figure that would dispel any misconceptions about the Dodgers’ outfielder. Such as this one:

By my count Puig did two interviews — one via sattelite on SportsCenter and another group interview in the Dodgers’ clubhouse — before yesterday’s game. He did another group interview afterward, when most of the questions were about his sore hip.

Whoever says he doesn’t talk to reporters has confused the facts; he simply doesn’t enjoy talking to reporters. “The press is something new for me,” Puig said yesterday (in Spanish, with clubhouse attendant Alex Torres interpreting), “and it’s something new and it’s difficult because sometimes they put in things that I never said.”

Puig became particularly heated with ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez before yesterday’s game. The conversation was in Spanish, and even the most fluent Spanish speaker couldn’t make out the particulars after Hanley Ramirez dialed the volume up to 11 on the salsa music playing in the clubhouse. Puig isn’t unique among professional athletes getting angry at reporters, though he’s among few whom the world’s largest cable sports outlet has (temporarily) assigned a personal reporter. And before arriving in America, he’d never had more than two reporters to deal with at a time. These days, he’s up to 20 or more.

All of this is only relevant because it’s a small part of the larger assimilation process for Puig as a major-league baseball player, a process that has taken some strange twists on and off the field.

Fact is, he’s talking to reporters. For now.

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:
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Daily Distractions: Picking a new WBC favorite; Cactus League attendance down; Mike Piazza ads.

WBC logoI started toying with this mental exercise last night: What if the state of California had a team in the World Baseball Classic?

Forget about how many players would decline invitations. Forget about generational eligibility — if you were born in California, you’re eligible (which is fine, since I had a better chance of making Team Wisconsin anyways). What would that team look like? Could it contend?

The answer is yes.

C: John Jaso, Mariners/Rod Barajas, Diamondbacks
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
2B: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Ty Wigginton, Cardinals
LF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
CF: Coco Crisp, A’s
RF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
DH: Prince Fielder, Tigers
UT: Skip Schumaker, Dodgers

SP: Jered Weaver, Angels
SP: CC Sabathia, Yankees
SP: James Shields, Royals
SP: Cole Hamels, Phillies
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RP: Sergio Romo, Giants
RP: Brandon League, Dodgers
RP: Addison Reed, White Sox
RP: Dale Thayer, Padres
RP: J.P. Howell, Dodgers
RP: Bryan Shaw, Diamondbacks
RP: Kris Medlen, Braves

Manager: Dusty Baker, Reds
Hitting coach: Mark McGwire, Dodgers
Pitching coach: Chris Bosio, Cubs

Apologies to C.J. Wilson, Mark Trumbo, Michael Young, Will Venable, Brandon McCarthy, Kyle Lohse, Mike Moustakas and Carlos Quentin. Perhaps you can dig into your family tree and find another state to play for.

On to some bullet points:

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