Sports | October 15, 2017 8:11 am

Dodgers Star Yasiel Puig Flips Bats, Critics Flip Lids After NLCS Game 1 Heroics

Controversial Cuban player dominates Cubs, but rubs some the wrong way.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig watches his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball's National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig watches his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball's National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Controversial Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig has really stepped up to the plate.

The Cuban-born outfielder, who’s had a rocky career since arriving with enormous hype to the majors in 2013, continued his renaissance in the postseason Saturday night — almost single-handedly leading Los Angeles to a 5-2 win over the defending champion Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS.

“Nobody epitomizes the Dodgers’ current journey more than their free-spirited, 26-year-old right fielder who, since joining the team at the start of its division-title run in 2013, has run the gamut from star to scorned and now back to star again,” wrote The Los Angeles’s Bill Plaschke wrote.

He’s been cheered. He’s been benched. He’s been idolized. He’s been demoted. He’s been nearly traded about a dozen times, and, as recently as a month ago, he was scolded and punished for showing up late and missing batting practice.

But Dodgers management always kept him around in hopes that one day, he would maximize his incredible potential under the brightest of lights. That time appears to be now. So far, this October belongs to him.

But not everyone was as enamored of Puig’s antics as the player himself was. Professional grouch Keith Olbermann took his own swings after Game 1:

That’s when Puig proved just how much in the zone he is right now with his response:

Some Cubs fans took their gripes to Twitter: “Cocky jerk Puig – posing, pimping, & taking unrequested curtain calls – as always a Hateful , classless, loser!!!,” harumphed.

The opinions that count most, the ones in the Dodgers locker room, are much more favorable.

“(Puig is) impacting everyone,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters afterward. “It’s great when you can play with such emotion. … He loves the big stage, and right now he’s playing at a high level and not only the fans, but his teammates are feeding off of it.”