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Former Cardinal McGwire teaches rookie about respect

7:22 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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There's a big difference between rivalry and respect. Dodgers star Yasiel Puig should learn the distinction.

Consider the following:

During batting practice before Monday's game at Chase Field, sources say Puig was approached by Luis Gonzalez. The former Diamondbacks star introduced himself, and began relating how his family also had roots in Cuba, just like Puig.

Except Puig wouldn't even look up or acknowledge his visitor. And for the record, Gonzalez was speaking Spanish, so nothing was lost in translation.

Gonzalez confirmed the one-sided conversation, but declined to elaborate or comment further.

But it's not all bad.

Dodgers coach Mark McGwire witnessed the awkward meeting, and allegedly jumped Puig pretty good. McGwire pointed out the man he was ignoring merely won a World Series with a hit off Mariano Rivera, and that Gonzalez's number happened to be hanging inside Chase Field.

Say what you want about McGwire - at least he knows the difference between competition and common courtesy.

Puig is an exciting player with a wealth of talent. He deserves much credit for resuscitating the Dodgers, and in my book, he belongs in the All-Star Game. Before the series started, even Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson showered the opposing player with some heavy praise.

He called Puig's hard-charging approach "refreshing," noting that he was the same way when he first broke in with the Tigers.

But I'm guessing Gibson had a little more respect for his predecessors.

Dan Bickley writes for azcentral sports, a Gannett property.

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