You see that kid talking about Yasiel Puig with the type of youthful excitement that's percieved to be missing from modern baseball? He's important.
Puig is as well, but we'll get to that in a bit. Let's focus on the kid.
Baseball's age demographic is old. There's a bevy of "Baseball is dying" stories out there focusing on how the game isn't cool enough for young kids to pay attention to. It's an old, pastoral game that seems to grow older as the years pass.
There's a lot of money in baseball, that's certainly true, but I firmly believe that baseball needs to appeal to a younger generation of kids who are going to be different than we are when they grow up.
It's folly to expect a younger generation to adhere to the same principles and ideals we have. It's backwards thinking at best. Baseball is a traditionalist game that is slow to adopt modern changes and it can cause a problem with young fans who are used to a different set of experiences than we had.
They are going to be attracted to different things.
Like, Yasiel Puig.
Puig is polarizing as all hell. Baseball traditionalists dislike his apparent disregard for "The Right Way to Play Baseball", there are whispers that the veterans find some of his antics annoying as well.
I think there's also a bevy of young fans who love him, like the kid in the video. Yasiel Puig is a bridge to a generation of fans who wouldn't normally like baseball. He inspired a grindcore music project. He's unafraid to show his emotions and above that his play is exciting.
I'm not writing any of this to piss off any traditionalists out there. I find that more often than not I am one of you when it comes to baseball matters. I'm writing this as someone who loves the game of baseball and wants to see it succeed. I don't think the game is in any immediate danger but I think someone like Puig has the ability to expose the game to a segment of fans who wouldn't normally watch any baseball.
Puig is many things but I think there's one thing he's clearly becoming in the baseball landscape.