I’ve never been a firm believer that one had to be “fit” to be successful in Major League Baseball. You can run down a list of talented players who were continually bordering on excessive weight issues that found themselves among the league leaders in hitting, playing in multiple All-Star games or even in some rare cases, being enshrined at Cooperstown.
That said – recent comments from the San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan certainly aren’t going to sit well with some, who may share a differing opinion.
The seemingly oft-injured Panda told Passan that he’s aware of his weight struggles, but doesn’t feel he necessarily needs to fix them right this moment as he has a few years to work down to a smaller frame:
“I’ve got this year and next year to change all the things,” Sandoval said. “It’s going to take me a while, but I can do it. I know I can do it.
“You need to learn. You need to grow up. You need to step up and know the difference between what you can do and what you can’t.”
We all remember what a success “Operation Panda” was, though, it was short-lived and Panda quickly regressed to his former self – be it a few pounds even heavier, despite the Giants’ front office and Bruce Bochy continually barking at the overweight but seemingly nimble third baseman.
In fairness, the numbers, when Panda has been on the field, have been impressive but staying on the field hasn’t been easy as he’s only played 225 games the past two seasons. The injuries have been more freak in nature than a direct result of his weight, but you do have to wonder how Sandoval’s injury history will progress as he grows older and continues to play at a hefty weight.