Yasiel Puig bid farewell to the Twins' AL Central lead with a ninth-inning wave on the bases
Yasiel Puig's half-season with the Reds was absolutely delightful. He took to Ohio better than most might have thought, and even though Cincinnati fought to stay out of the NL Central cellar, his mere presence and enthusiasm turned the team into must-watch baseball.
However, once it became clear that this probably wasn't going to be the Reds' year, a move to a contender in advance of Puig's upcoming free agency was inevitable. If there was any remote chance of getting to relive the joys of postseason Puig in 2019, the baseball world needed it. The Reds obliged and sent him to the Indians at the Trade Deadline.
Puig has kept up his hot hitting from July since joining Cleveland, and he went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the team's 6-2 win over the Twins.
The victory marked a crucial moment in the Indians' season. Although they were preseason favorites in the AL Central, the Twins quickly surged out in front of them and built up an 11.5 game lead in the division by June 2.
But when the calendar flipped from May to June, the Indians really began to play well. They've now gone 42-17 since June 1, the best record in baseball -- all without ace Corey Kluber, as well. The win on Friday completely erased the Twins' once-daunting lead and tied them up atop the AL Central.
When Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak threw away a pickoff attempt of Puig in the ninth inning, the outfielder couldn't help expressing his joy as he rounded second and headed to third. As if he was in the thick of things in Cleveland all along, he used his gloves to wave at the Twins as they scrambled after the ball:
Tell 'em boy bye 👋 pic.twitter.com/uuCz55F4lh— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 10, 2019
Classic Puig, and so much for the supposedly uncompetitive AL Central. We've got a tight division race all over again.
Since Puig is Puig, that was far from the only styling that he had to offer. The man was loving every moment of this big win, shaking his butt in the batter's box and blowing a kiss from third base.
The moment that the Indians traded for Puig, you had to know that the combination of him, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez was going to lead to an infectious explosion of personality. Cleveland fans have to be loving it.
Andrew Mearns is a writer for Cut4 whose baseball obsession was born from the shattered dreams of Mike Mussina's perfect game attempt in 2001. He has a startling memory of World Series highlights that barely functions as a party trick.