The greatest thing about the Yasiel Puig phenomenon is that we still know barely anything about the guy. Fans have bought the No.66 jersey and have been amazed by his throws and his abilities, but yet do not know a single thing about the guy’s past. He spent his younger days sitting behind Cuban politics and being imprisoned for just wanting to play the sport he loved, baseball. Puig failed over and over again to defect from Cuba but he couldn’t stand the fact of giving up. His story has Hollywood written all over it.
Puig was interviewed while he was still playing in the minors for the LA Dodgers and told everyone “Todo mi vida es una pelicula.” (“My whole life is a movie.”)
Recently, a story about Yasiel Puig came up that shocked many people and revealed a little bit more about this mysterious player. A Coast Guard crew came out and told people that they had met Puig before he became famous, before he defected. Puig like many Cubans before him tried over and over to defect from Cuba but failed. But Puig was different, he was larger then everyone else standing at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. The only reason some ever make it is the determination to never give up on their dream. This is what Puig did.
Since 2000, according to the Coast Guard more then 200 Cubans have died trying to defect by boat to the United States.
Thousands more have tried to get away only to be caught and brought back to Cuba, where their fate is rarely uncovered.
Puig never gave up. From the first time he got caught, while his friend Gerardo Concepcion succeeded in getting away–then, signing a $6 million deal with the Chicago Cubs a few months later, to the later times when he got caught, and was kicked off of the Cuban National Team.
Even when he managed to get caught over and over again by the Coast Guard, they would just ask him, “Are we going to see you again?” and “He just smiled at us.”
Puig would even tell them stories about the times he got caught with other police. “He told me a funny story about this,” James Torres said. “He had attempted to leave from one particular place. By the third time, the police officer begged him to leave from another place because [Puig] was going to get him in trouble.”
Puig finally made it to Mexico. How?
No one but Puig and a few people close to him have yet to find out. One rumor is that Puig went off with a Mexican drug smuggler who ferried him to Cancun and held him with the understanding that Puig would give them some of his signing bonus money. None of this has yet to be confirmed, nor has Puig said anything about the defection.
But since being signed by the LA Dodgers a few weeks later, Puig has decided to make the most out of his experience in Major League Baseball.
And he has done nothing but. A few months after Puig made his debut, he has shown to play the game like it is some brand new gift he had never received. He led the Dodgers to coming back and winning their division and making a postseason run to the ALCS. Puig has shown us what true determination can lead too.
He had nothing in Cuba but kept fighting and never gave up to live out his dream to play in the Major Leagues. We should all get used to hearing, “and coming up to the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers, #66, Yasiel Puig!”