Not many of the moves made by GM Ben Cherington in the off-season, preceding the wet fart that is the 2015 Boston Red Sox, made a lot of sense.
For example, their failure to sign Jon Lester in lieu of manager John Farrell’s “five aces” was a glaringly obvious tactical blunder. Someone ask the Yankees right now how much fun it is coming down the home stretch without a veritable ace to hand the ball every five games. It’ll be even more fun in a five-game divisional series when they have to face David Price or Dallas Keuchel or Johnny Cueto twice without a top gun of their own. The fact that the Red Sox front office didn’t figure this out before the season has had everyone scratching their heads since spring training.
Instead, the brain trust on Yawkey Way signed a known headcase and July’s DB of the Month to exorbitant contracts hovering in $22 and $18 million-range, respectively.
And so far Pablo Sandoval, the so-called Kung Fu Panda—a nickname that vicariously embarrasses me as a human being—has bent over Boston fans and rammed us with a big ole’ stick of bamboo.
Coming into the season, I didn’t know a lot about Sandoval. I have friends and family on the West Coast who are Giants’ fans and the consensus among them was that Sandoval was a decent player, above average in the postseason, but grossly overpaid. There was also a sense of aggrievement among San Francisco fans about Sandoval packing up and moving East, refusing to listen to the Giants’ offer after being anointed the face of their franchise. But baseball is a business, I get it.
So I was expecting a modicum of Pink Hat annoyance to come with the panda crap—a couple of yahoos in panda suits prowling around Lansdowne St.—and I was also expecting an affable switch-hitter to hover around .300 and play a solid but not an exceptional third base.
Instead, we got a giant douche bag and piles and piles of panda dung to navigate like landmines.
Let’s start with his statistics. Right now, Sandoval is batting .257 with OPS under .400. And, as we’ve conveniently come to find out, Sandoval can’t in fact switch hit. As a right-handed batter in 2015, Panda-poo is hitting an abysmal .049 (that’s not a typo).
Sometimes, however, there are such things as intangibles. While Sandoval’s numbers are underwhelming, at least he’s a positive presence in the clubhouse. That is when he isn’t sitting on the can and “liking” women’s pictures posted on Instagram during the game. In fairness, there were some “likeable” qualities to the picture in question.
Now bend over. Breathe. Here comes the bamboo.
Additionally, on the field, Sandoval is the picture of hustle and athleticism, like a slightly older Mike Trout…that is if Mike Trout were grossly overweight and out of shape. In a game against the White Sox in late-July, the portly panda had to run all the way from first base to home, subsequently getting gunned down at the plate. Sadly, the exertion was too much for our pudgy bear, and he had to remove himself from the game due to dehydration.
Right now, I’d rather have bamboo growing beneath my fingernails than to have to endure another four seasons with July’s DB of the Month. Although the title seems to be a harbinger. So far this season, Sandoval shares the DB of the Month tag with Larry Lucchino (April) and Shane Victorino (March)—the entire Red Sox organization won it for May and June—and both men have either left or will be leaving the organization at the end of the season. One can only hope some other team will absorb Sandoval’s ridiculous contract.
In the meantime, watch out for the panda shit. It’s everywhere.