Yasiel Puig had a harrowing journey when he defected from Cuba. Now, seven years later he’s the Los Angeles Dodgers all time leader in postseason games.
Puig, who was traded to the Reds last month made his way to Hawaii this weekend and took part in a baseball clinic for island keiki on Sunday.
The 2014 All-Star, helped host the Kado Baseball Clinic at the Mid Pacific Institute where dozens of kids got to hit the field shoulder to shoulder with the popular slugger who has already fallen in love with the Aloha State and its activities.
“i’ve never hiked in my life and today was my first time hiking and my first time in Hawaii and I love it,” said Puig.
Taking part in clinics and camps has recently become an off-season favorite for the outfielder, who expressed great joy in seeing the happiness that a day of playing baseball can bring to a young ball player.
“I do this a lot of times because I have a foundation and I love to help kids to play baseball better and giving food to the kids and giving back to the community because the community has given me all I have and thank god that I have a lot right now and that’s the reason I love giving back to the community,” said Puig.
Puig’s journey to baseball stardom came with many obstacles, including his well documented defection from Cuba, where its been reported that starting in 2009, Puig tried to defect to Mexico 13 times, in order to become a legal resident so he could become eligible to sign a contract in Major League Baseball.
Recently, Cuba, the United States and Major League Baseball came to an agreement that allows players to safely come to America.
Major League Baseball last month announced an agreement with the Cuban baseball federation to legalize and streamline the transfer of professional baseball players to the United States and Canada.
The agreement is intended to bring order to the often chaotic path by which Cuban players have landed in the major leagues in recent decades.
KHON2’s Ren Clayton asked the 2014 all star what he thought about his countrymen’s future in the game.
“That’s amazing for all the Cuban players over there and now all the kids in Cuba are going to play more excited and give more love to the baseball to play here and play the best baseball in the world,” said Puig.
Puig, will be spending more time in Hawaii and will take part in more activities with Kado Baseball.
For more information on future Kado Baseball Clinics you can visit KadoBaseball.com