Daily Distractions: Yasiel Puig arrives again; Vin Scully tweets; Manny Ramirez returns?

Yasiel Puig Yankees

Yasiel Puig, left, went 4 for 10 in Wednesday’s doubleheader split against the Yankees. (AP photo)

What’s that old saying?

“There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it”?

Right. It’s commonly attributed to William James, the father of modern psychology.

There’s a newer saying, related to the first. One variation goes, “Nothing really puts a performer on the map like coming up big in New York.” Another contends, “a player hasn’t really proven what he can do until succeeding or failing under the bright lights of New York City.” Here’s one more: “the Bronx still provides the game’s greatest stage, and it is a place that helps make stars and bolster myths.” And when the New Yorker and Bleacher Report can agree on something, it must be true. Right?

If Yasiel Puig indeed thrived on a bigger stage Wednesday, the perception will be that he’s a bigger deal now than when he was belting pitches halfway to Eagle Rock as if he’d been playing in Dodger Stadium all his life. In reality, New York Yankees right-hander Adam Warren is the worst pitcher among Puig’s five home run victims (though the San Diego Padres’ Clayton Richard might object). His opposite-field home run in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory bore no meaning on the outcome of the game, as did his 2-for-5 performance in the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss Wednesday morning.

But perception and reality don’t always line up. If you flipped to ESPN yesterday hoping to catch highlights of Lebron James and Tim Tebow, and saw Yasiel Puig go 4 for 10 against the Yankees, maybe your interest in baseball has been piqued by the ripped Cuban kid from L.A.

Consider the myth bolstered, the star made. Again.

Some bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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Daily Distractions: Vin Scully tackles a new medium; Manny Ramirez; links.

Vin Scully

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be “tweetcasting” during the second Dodgers-Yankees game today. (photo by J.P. Hoornstra)

Vin Scully didn’t make the trip to New York with the Dodgers. A shame, really.

Scully teased us last year with the idea of being behind the mic for a Dodgers-Yankees interleague series in the Bronx. Indeed, he’ll be broadcasting to us this afternoon. Just not from behind a microphone.

Scully will take over the Dodgers’ Twitter account during the second game of today’s doubleheader against the Yankees. They’re calling it a “Tweetcast,” whatever that means.

I personally find the 140-character limit to be a challenge sometimes. Scully, who once had aspirations of being a sportswriter, might master the medium quicker than most of us who Tweet every day. Should be interesting either way.

I can’t remember ever having to rush these through just to beat first pitch. Game 1 (Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Hiroki Kuroda) of today’s doubleheader is on Channel 9 (KCAL). Game 2 (Chris Capuano vs. Phil Hughes) on Prime Ticket at 4 p.m.

Some bullet points for a hump day:
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Daily Distractions: More Yasiel Puig historical footnotes, Biogenesis, etc.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig signs for fans Monday at Dodger Stadium. (Andy Holzman/Staff photographer)

In case you missed it, Yasiel Puig went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and five RBI in his second major-league game last night.

To measure Puig’s first two days with the Dodgers against history took longer than the one hour I had on deadline. So here’s a more comprehensive rundown, courtesy of the Dodgers, the Elias Sports Bureau, ESPN and others:

• Puig had the fourth multi-homer game by a Dodger this season (last: Scott Van Slyke, May 17) and his five RBI were the most for a Dodger since Jerry Hairston Jr.’s five RBI on June 9, 2012 at Seattle.

• Puig is the first Dodger player to have a multi-homer game within his first two career games.

• Puig is the first Dodger player to post five or more RBI within his first two career games since Spider Jorgensen knocked in six in his second career game on April 17, 1947 for Brooklyn against the Boston Braves.

• Puig also doubled, joining Jorgensen as the only Dodgers since 1916 to have a three extra-base hit-game within his first two games.

• Puig is the first Dodger player to post multi-hit games in the first two games of his career since Larry Miller on June 21, 1964 (second game of double-header) and June 29, 1964.

• The last MLB player with five or more RBI in one of his first two games was the Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro (six RBI, May 7, 2010 in debut) and the last player with two or more homers through two career games was Baltimore’s Manny Machado with two homers in his second career game (Aug. 10, 2012).

• He is the second player in major league history to have a two-homer, five-RBI game within the first two games of his career, joining Dino Restelli of the 1949 Pittsburgh Pirates.

• He is the second Dodgers player ever to have a two-homer, five-RBI game from the leadoff spot, joining Tommy Brown, who did so in 1950.

• Puig’s first home run landed 443 feet away in left field, the longest home run hit by a Dodger this season.

Tater Trot Tracker confirmed that Puig’s two home run trots were among the fastest all year. I asked Puig if he knew each would go out of the park, or if he was hustling because he thought they wouldn’t. His answer: “I play hard all the time.”

And the beat goes on. Some bullet points for a World Environment Day:

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Daily Distractions: Accentuating the positive, and tracking down some former Dodgers.

In my game story last night, I highlighted what ailed the Dodgers in their 5-3 loss to the Giants. (Photo gallery)

To be fair, here’s what the Dodgers did well in their first series of the season:

– Limited the Giants to a .208 batting average;
– Walked only two batters in the three games, while striking out 19;
– Didn’t allow a stolen base, while catching the Giants’ lone attempted thief;
– Turned a league-high seven double plays;
– In lieu of traditional offensive means, they got in the way of three San Francisco pitches.

OK, maybe the last one’s a stretch.

The positives paint a clear picture: the Dodgers pitchers were doing their jobs for the most part and, when they weren’t, the defense was helping out (Skip Schumaker‘s error last night serving as the obvious exception).

Here are some bullet points for an off-day for the Dodgers, except for Chad Billingsley, who will make his debut tonight in Rancho Cucamonga:

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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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