Yasiel Puig's escape from Cuba

Christian Petersen

A must-read story of Puig's journey from Cuba to Los Angeles, with a few stops in between.

We see Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as the playful sort getting into a tickle fight with a teammate or the 23-year-old playing video games with a rival:

But a side of Puig he doesn't talk about much was investigated quite thoroughly by Jesse Katz at LA Magazine. I saw Katz during spring training, during the three days he unsuccessfully tried to interview Puig, but never imagined the type of story that would come. Katz wrote of Puig's journey from Cuba to Mexico to Chavez Ravine, a tale involving smuggling, a boxer, a machete, a "staged kidnapping," extortion, and even Denny's:

To ease Puig’s transition, the Dodgers placed him on their Arizona Rookie League squad and paired him with a mentor, a high school wrestling coach named Tim Bravo, whose official title was "director of cultural assimilation." Their first days together—Puig’s first on American soil—were pure wonder, everything so new and different, even in the bland desert sprawl of Camelback Ranch. "He does everything full speed, everything hard, everything with exuberance," Bravo told me. "I tried to keep him out of trouble, but it wasn’t always easy. He was saying, Yes, yes, yes, and I was saying, No, no, no."

Puig discovered the round-the-clock comforts of Denny’s, returning day after day for steak and eggs. Flipping channels, he stumbled upon the Three Stooges and spent hours nyuck-nyuck-ing himself silly. He had to learn not just English but the basics of modern consumerism: to tip, to use an ATM, to read labels, to pump gas. "I hate to say this, but I taught him to drive," said Bravo. "We’d take my rental car out right after practice, drive around the Camelback parking lots. We were doing all the things you’d teach a teenager."

It really is a fantastic article, one I highly recommend reading.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker