Our last post began the list of Venezuelan All-Stars, by position. Today, for a special reason, we’ll just cover just two infield positions–at the corners, Miguel Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval. Read on.
One of the first “news” items out of spring training was a mocking tweet from a Boston beat writer about new Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval. “It doesn’t look like he’s missed any meals over the winter,” it went, or something along those lines. Welcome to the East Coast, Panda.
Here’s my impassioned defense of the Panda and any other zaftig ballplayer. The question you must ask, above all: can they play ball? Baseball history is laden with exemplary performers in plus-size uniforms. Has anyone heard of Babe Ruth? Mickey Lolich (1968 World Series MVP, most strikeouts by an American League lefty ever)? How about current pitchers Bartolo Colon–still in the game at age 41–and C.C. Sabathia (between them, 412 career wins and a Cy Young Award each). Colon won 15 games last year for a very mediocre Mets squad.
All Sandoval has done before the age of 30 (he’ll turn 29 in August) is win three World Series (winning the MVP in 2012) and play in two All-Star games. And if you watch him in the field, he doesn’t do too badly, either. Miguel Cabrera, my VZ All-Star at first base, has similarly won a World Series, a Triple Crown, three batting titles and has played in seven All-Star games. He even played third base when the Tigers had Prince Fielder.
Now, the Panda and Miggy will never go out clubbing in their skinny jeans. But they can hit the hell out of the baseball, and Cabrera will probably be wearing his non-skinny jeans to the induction ceremony in Cooperstown in about 15 years.
They are awesome baseball players, who happen also to be fat. That “junk in their trunk” is probably trophies rattling around. Deal with it.
Postscript: Three years ago when I began this blog, I was at a game in Estadio Universitario in Caracas. I looked at my notes for the game recently. I wrote, about Sandoval’s former San Francisco Giants teammate: “Jean Machi: Fat.” Guilty as charged, your honor.