After contract negotiations dissolved last winter, Yasiel Puig was left without a team. It looked like he might have a chance running down fly balls in the crowded Braves outfield, but a positive coronavirus test dashed what remained of Puig's hopes to play in 2020.
Though it was a setback, the tumultuous offseason wasn't enough to dampen Puig's spirits.
"I was really disappointed," said Puig. "I feel like I can really contribute to a contending team, but things just didn't work out for this year, obviously."
"Then I realized, I could use this extra time not playing to really flesh out my real dream: owning and operating a three-star Michelin restaurant."
It's true, Puig has traded in the field for the kitchen this season, as he swaps out a baseball cap for a traditional chef's toque. And yes, the restaurant will be baseball bat-themed. "It's a world of flavor that hasn't been tapped yet," said the enthusiastic Puig. "It's a wide-open opportunity, and I'm really excited to share my favorite recipes with the world."
Puig's will open with a sprawling menu of 23 bat-centric foods, including a wood selection featuring oak, maple, ash, hickory, and even bamboo. Yasiel Puig went into detail on his food design process.
"You always start with a good pine tar dry rub," said Puig. "That's where people mess up when they make this at home. The pine tar seasoning really accentuates the natural flavors of the wood. Then you carefully cook it to give it a good even sear."
"Another key to a good-tasting bat is selecting the right wood to create your dish. We only use the highest quality ingredients here at Puig's, whether that's a Louisville Slugger or an Axe Bat."
When asked about the human body's inability to safely digest wood, Puig just flashed a smile.
"People just don't always know what they want until it's on their plate," Puig said. "It's my job to open their eyes to a whole new flavor experience. And that flavor is wood."
Puig's is set to open October 2020.