Former Chattanooga Lookout Yasiel Puig Hosts LA Little League Youngsters

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig
- photo by Tim Evearitt

Perhaps you missed the opportunity to watch ex-Cuban Yasiel Puig perform for the Lookouts at AT&T Field. If you had been there you would have a seen a big kid in a man's body. It was clear that, despite opening the 2013 season at Double-A Chattanooga, the happy-go-lucky Puig loved to play the game. The Dodgers knew he was special and promoted him directly to the Major League club in June where he (and Hanley Ramirez) sparked the comeback that resulted in Los Angeles winning the National League West Division.

Puig finished second in the race for NL Rookie of the Year behind Marlins' RHP Jose Fernandez.

After a brief return to Chattanooga to face up to a 97-mile-per-hour speeding ticket, he is back in Los Angeles where his latest appearance has been with a group of little leaguers. Little League back in Cuba was nothing like this.

But Puig is reminded of his youth ball days by the Northeast Los Angeles Little League, which plays its games at the Dodgers Dream Field overlooking the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

"I played Little League when I was 9, went through the system, and now I'm grateful that I'm able to do this for these kids," said Puig. "Maybe they'll be able to support me when I get old."

Three weeks ago, Puig made an unannounced and entirely unexpected visit to those fields, joined the Little Leaguers in their workout, and one of the kids mentioned to the Dodgers outfielder that he'd never been to Dodger Stadium.

Puig took care of that Monday. If you were driving in the area and saw the stadium lights on, that would be Puig in another play date with the NELA.

He pitched 40 minutes of batting practice to 50 players, aged 9-12. He took them on a tour of the Dodgers' stylish clubhouse, from the underground batting cages to the locker room, where the kids scrambled to test out the seats in front of the big leaguers' lockers.

He rounded them up and returned to the batting cage, where he had each of the Little Leaguers bat off a tee under his instruction. It was the kind of personalized clinic that just doesn't happen these days, reminiscent of the stories of Duke Snider playing stick ball with neighborhood kids on the streets of Brooklyn in an era long since passed.

"I told one of them that I would bring them to Dodger Stadium to practice on the field," said Puig. "I'm happy to be able to spend this time with them and see how much they enjoy being here. This is what makes me feel good."

Puig first encountered NELA when his cousin, Ramon Delgado, told him about the Little League that plays in nearby Elysian Park. Puig made good on his promise Monday, posing for pictures, handing out T-shirts and hats, then hosting the kids and their coaches to Dodger Dogs in the Stadium Club.

"We're excited that Puig is continuing the Dodgers' long legacy of community service," said Renata Simril, Dodgers senior vice president of external affairs. "Our mission is to inspire kids to play, live, learn and serve. We're happy to have him out energizing Southern California youth and particularly in our neighborhood. I'm sure these kids will be on cloud nine for weeks."

Puig has spent the first month of the offseason in Los Angeles. Along with attending as many NBA games as possible, he is scheduled for an appearance with Lakers star Pau Gasol on Tuesday at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, which has had a long affiliation with the Dodgers. The pair will visit patients and sign autographs.

--- Portions from article on MLB.com

Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Dalton State Hires Director Of Soccer

Dalton State Athletic Director Derek Waugh announced Monday that 20-year coaching veteran Kerem Daser has been hired as the Director of Soccer for the Roadrunners.  “I want to thank the hiring committee for the professional job that they did and for selecting me to lead the soccer program in an already prestigious athletic department at Dalton State,” Daser said. “I cannot ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: A Special Hall Of Fame Class

The 2014 class of inductees into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame was really something special. The group was headed by a pair of Atlanta Braves’ pitchers and their manager. It also included Former Braves’ and Yankees’ manager Joe Torre and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, who played baseball at Auburn. In other words, it was a great day for the south. Braves’ pitchers Greg ... (click for more)

City Council Presents Potential Ordinance To Address Noise Level Downtown

Members of the Chattanooga City Council presented a potential ordinance to address concerns about the noise level downtown. If passed, the ordinance will put limits on both dB(A) and dB(C) levels of sound. It was noted, "When we compare our dB level, it is clear that Chattanooga is lower than Nashville and Knoxville." However, this comparison only takes dB(A) levels into consideration. ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Ohls Avenue While Working In His Yard

A Chattanooga man was shot Tuesday evening, while working in his yard. At approximately 8:55 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 4217 Ohls Ave. for a shooting. Officers located 34-year-old Daniel Marlowe suffering from a single gunshot wound to his hip.  Mr. Marlowe stated to investigators that while he was working in his yard, three black males approached him and ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)