The next two days are set up perfectly for Yasiel Puig to shine on the big stage. If the weekend was any indication, the Dodgers first-time All-Star is ready to have fun.
It didn't seem so fun in the third inning on Saturday, when he called home plate umpire David Rackley "stupid" after a called strike three, earning an ejection for saying what manager Don Mattingly called "the magical little words."
That earned Puig postgame ribbing from his teammates, including Adrian Gonzalez calling him "numb nuts." But Puig just laughed it off, as he does most things.
On Sunday, a pair of plays stood out. The first came on a lazy fly ball that Puig caught in the most casual way possible.
It might have been that the outfielders were bored, because outside of a pair of singles no other balls were hit by the Padres off Hyun-jin Ryu to the outfield until that lazy fly by Chase Headley. But that wasn't the reason. Puig caught that with flair because he can.
Because it's fun.
Sure, a play like that may ruffle some feathers - Lou Brown comes to mind - but it's something that will be tolerated as long as the catch is made. And if not, it will be fun watching people get infuriated over nonsense.
But another play in the next half inning provided even more insight into Puig. Locked in a scoreless tie for a second straight day, with speedsters Dee Gordon on second base and Carl Crawford on first, Puig singled to center field to drive home the game's only run.
Once Puig realized the ball would make it to the outfield, he was clapping and celebrating all the way down the first base line, knowing he gave his team the lead.
During batting practice on Saturday, Puig was yelling "home run" after every ball he thought was headed for the stands, just having fun. This was a normal day for Puig.
"He'll be fine, because Puig does a home run derby every BP," Ryu said with a smile.
Here he is on the Dodgers plane to Minnesota, along with fellow first-time All-Star Dee Gordon.
Deuces up for the Twin Cities: pic.twitter.com/vHmrsZQsd3— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 14, 2014
Look at that face. Puig exudes enthusiasm.
Manager Don Mattingly, himself a six-time All-Star, talked to his quartet of All-Stars before the trip.
"I talked to Dee about enjoying it," Mattingly quipped. "Yasiel, I don’t have to worry about him having fun."
Puig will be in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, and he'll start on the outfield on Tuesday. Two days in the national spotlight. No matter what happens Puig will likely be having fun, and we won't be able to peel our eyes away.