There is little doubt that conflict has played an enormous role in the shaping of mankind. However, in advance of Wyld Stallyns creating a utopian future with their truly excellent electric guitar shredding, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I write that humanity has found an interim consensus in their all encompassing love of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Put simply, he’s the greatest human in existence. Need evidence? Here you go:
They call him Kung Fu Panda for a reason, and I’d be lying if I tried to suggest that no part of Sandoval’s appeal has to do with his most prominent physical feature: his huskiness. Despite working hard to make that feature less prominent ahead of last season, as the year wore on, the prominence returned, as mentioned by an overwhelmingly abundant number of websites.
Perhaps the only thing more unfounded than this fashion of weight watching is how broadcast booths refer to Sandoval’s weight as being the cause of success or failure for every single play in which he’s involved. If he extends to make a diving catch off a line drive at third base, it’s obviously due to his off season conditioning. If he strikes out swinging, it’s clearly due to the fat in his core not allowing him to rotate properly, thereby slowing his bat speed. It’s rather fantastic how former players and people with good sounding voices automatically become qualified kinesiologists when handed a microphone and an outlet for their opinions.
This coming season promises to be no exception. Already, amid reports from last week suggesting that Sandoval is looking even “thicker” than when the 2011 season ended, the following quote was extracted from Giants manager Bruce Bochy :
He knows he has some work to do.
Yes, sadly, in mid-February, this is what constitutes baseball news.
From there, Carlos Alberto Zambrano of Lider en Deportes collects the following quote from Sandoval,
I’m not interested in what people say about me. I’ll shut their mouths when spring training begins. That’s the date when I need to arrive in shape.
Then, Craig Calcaterra of HardBall Talk attempts to shape some sort of contention between the player and his manager, suggesting that:
No matter how much fat is on those bones, something tells me that Bochy isn’t going to take too kindly to being told that Sandoval is going to shut his mouth. I mean, they won a World Series without Sandoval being particularly effective. Something tells me that Bochy would be willing to try it again if he was sufficiently pissed off about it.
And so it begins.
I understand that we’re all bored and not all of us have the journalistic integrity to pull off poorly photoshopped Valentine’s Day cards featuring outrageously bad puns, but attempting to stir up controversy because of comments that are in no way directed toward a specific person is ridiculous.
There is absolutely no controversy here. And I’d suggest that anyone thinking that Bochy would be willing to attempt writing out a lineup without Sandoval likely didn’t see a whole lot of Giants’ games last season. Of the seven batters on the team last season that collected more than 300 plate appearances, Sandoval provided approximately 20 more batting runs above average, 113 more OPS points, 52 more wOBA points, and 35 more wRC+ than the next closest player. Not the average player. Not the worst player on the team. The next closest player.
This is both beautiful and hideous, depending on how you look at it: