Monday, February 23, 2015

Let's Get Large - The Weighty Issues

Most of the time, the best way not to call attention to something is not to write about it. Then there's this guy:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — He ain’t heavy, he’s your third baseman.

Enough with Panda fat jokes. Pablo Sandoval is what he is. He is a 28-year-old switch-hitter who can rake. He can turn on the high fastball, something nobody does anymore. He can hit the ball that’s pitched away. He can hit tape-measure shots when batting from the left side. He can hit when it matters most. He’s also a cat-like defender, surprisingly nimble at the hot corner. Think Wilfork with a Wilson mitt on his left hand.

There’s been a lot of fat talk around Camp Red Sox since intrepid Steve Silva of snapped a photo of Panda standing around the infield, looking a little like Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now.’’

Sandoval was caught in a classic Dunlap pose. You know the joke. His belly done lapped his belt. Somehow, the publication of this photo triggered a Fat Tuesday festivus of ridicule and repudiation. It was talk show fodder back home in Boston for a few days and even David Letterman weighed in with a Top 10 list of things you don’t want to hear from your $95 million baseball player. Publicly, Sandoval put on a happy face. He posed for a gut-protruding photo with teammates Hanley Ramirez and Joe Kelly. They called it the Panda Pose and sent it out on Twitter.

But Sox insiders claimed Sandoval was hurt. Changed. Burned.
Which brings us back to the Kung Fu Panda, the corpulent captain of Team Tundra (vast waist land). In Red Sox lore, Sandoval is a worthy successor to Babe Ruth, Mo Vaughn, and Rich Garces.
Safe to say that Shank broke his pledge not to goof on Sandoval's weight with this column.

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