Yasiel Puig entered the 2014 Home Run Derby with some implicit expectations on his shoulders.
Being 23 years old and built like a brick outhouse, Puig came into the ball-spanking competition with the general assumption that he would wow the crowd, if not win the competition.
So it came as a none-too-tiny surprise when Puig, a decent power hitter by any measure, failed to hit a single home run in the Derby on Monday night.
According to Mike Oz of Big League Stew, the young Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder arrived at the event without a designated pitcher and opted to have Robinson Cano's father, Jose Cano, step in to throw. Puig managed to grab hold of a few pitches but pulled them hard into foul territory.
Oz points out that players who hit Jose Cano's pitches haven't had success in the Derby.
"The last Home Run Derby competitor to get shut out was Robinson Cano in 2012," Oz writes. "As coincidence would have it, Cano's dad, former big-league pitcher Jose Cano, was the one pitching to Puig on Monday, just like he did Robinson in 2012."
Was it the Jose Cano curse that ruined Puig's night? Or just shoddy concentration and nerves bearing down on a young player at his first Derby?
We'll never know, but the Dodgers maintain that Puig is saving his runs for Tuesday's All-Star Game:
Puig didn't seem too distressed by his goose egg. He posed with Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who walloped the bomb of the night in the first round.
At the risk of sounding like a Puig apologist, I'll take this time to remind you that the Home Run Derby means nothing. It's a lawless night when baseball fans cast aside their rigid principles and allow players to gawk at the sexiest big-ticket moment the sport has to offer.
Still, Puig and his bear arms could've given the people a little more cowbell. The Roman masses in the stands at Target Field came to see giant men put baseballs out of their misery—and a Puig clean sheet was the last thing they wanted.
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