SF Giants News

San Francisco Giants joined by San Diego in Pablo Sandoval Sweeps

By Mark ONeill
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Yawn. The courting of the San Francisco Giants’ third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, took another lap around the track of predictability, when the San Diego Padres, because of their new TV deal, got involved. According to the fingers on my south paw, that makes five teams interested in the occasionally-rotund free agent, with an average bat in the regular season, and very good defense, if he stays slim and trim. That could be perceived as a big “if.” Why don’t the Giants simply uncage the Panda, and let him sidle away?

The answer is chemistry. Chemistry, a subject generally thought of only in conjunction with the nightmare of high school, surfaces a great deal when discussing the San Francisco Giants and the ongoing Pablo Sandoval sweepstakes. The Panda pageant is well worth devoting time and attention to, in the afterglow of another ascent to the game’s highest pinnacle, but only if the Giants want to get there again. 

I struggled with chemistry, myself, in high school, along with algebra and, well, never mind, but I am having no problem seeing what many-though, not all-fans see in the charismatic Venezuelan. I see him smiling-incessantly-just as I saw him smile his way through that horrific slump he went through the first six weeks of the season.

The pressure was on for Sandoval to make a fast break out the gate, and except for Mr. Hustle, Hunter Pence, everyone else was hammering home runs and helping the team off to a 43-21 start. The Panda was beginning the final year of his contract, before kicking off the current frenzy, and he wanted so very badly to be leading the offensive charge. Unfortunately, there was that glaring stat: 0-43 with two strikes, to lead off the season. No pressure, Panda.

Oct 7, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval reacts after popping out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals during game four of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Indeed, all Sandoval could do was lead the cheering, which he continued to do, rather than moping around in the dugout, or flinging a water cooler aside.

Nothing makes fans forget about a slump faster than a clutch hit, in the ninth inning, of a crucially important game.

He knew his time would come, and when it did, his teammates wold forget about the slump. Come to think about it, when Sandoval doubled in Joe Panik, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, on a cold night in Washington DC, to prolong a game the Giants would win in eighteen innings, nary a fan remembered about that slump.

As Mike Krukow said in an interview on MLB Television, Monday afternoon, “What he [Sandoval] did in the regular season…I don’t know if he warrants the big contract…but what he did in the postseason, does.”

The question for any other club involved in the Sandoval spectacle might be, “How do you know there’s going to be a postseason?” but for the Giants, recent history might indicate that not to be the case. Krukow was also quick to toss in that intangible, the clubhouse. “That’s the thing…we don’t know how the team would do without him.”

Whereas the Southern contingent gets a lot of press, the Venezuelan element carries the next greatest amount of clout in the clubhouse, and Sandoval is the loudest one amongst them. The loudest, not to mention the biggest. When asked about Sandoval’s weight issue, Krukow voiced the opinion that Pablo wanted to be a great player, and would keep his weight in check.

Pablo is such a vibrant force in the Giants dugout, that Brian Sabean has made the Panda his top and only priority, until the situation has been resolved. This does not guarantee success, but it helps foster the hope that San Francisco Giants’ General Manager, Brian Sabean, will not do anything to rock the chemistry boat.

After all, who knows what role Pandas ultimately play in the mix of Baby Giraffes, stoic/excitable Southerners, One-Hunter Percenters, Great White Sharks, and other Super-Heroes on the San Francisco Giants?

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