Before he was the Panda, my kids and I were calling Pablo Sandoval, “The Blito”. We took Pablo, made it Pablito, and simply shortened it to Blito, before adding “The” in front of it, sort of how Ohio State University is The Ohio State University. So to us, he’s not The Panda, he’s The Blito.
Pablo is the kind of player you just like giving nicknames to. He’s fun loving and kids enjoy watching someone who just looks like they’re having fun out there on the field. Pablo Sandoval kind of crept up on all of us. He wasn’t a high pick or a super prospect of any kind. And he achieved success at a fast pace. People forget that he’s still just 24 years old. His playful attitude has made him a fan favorite, but the same attitude has given fans some ammunition when he doesn’t play well. I can’t remember when Giants fans previously cared how much someone weighed, but they sure cared this offseason.
They cared so much that it overshadowed a lot of his problems last year that didn’t have anything to do with his weight. Sure, his range at third base seemed so much more limited than the year before. But if you went to some games last year, you’d notice that he was cheating to the left a little bit, and playing off the line. My guess is that he knew that neither Juan Uribe or Edgar Renteria was going to cover a lot of ground to their backhand so he wanted to see if he could get to some of those balls. And of course, he might’ve been cheating left a little bit because he was having trouble getting to his left as well.
But at the plate, I’m not so sure it was all that physical. All the smart ones will say that hitting is a mental game. He may have had trouble getting through the zone on inside pitches because of his size, but Prince Fielder carries a bigger boiler than Pablo did last year and he doesn’t seem to have the same problem. I really think it was mostly mental. Most every Giants fan knows that Pablo was going through a divorce last year. He has a young daughter. Those things can affect anyone in their life. Anyone whose gone through a divorce (raising my hand) knows that it’s such a complete mind f***, you find yourself day dreaming, playing scenarios through your head, thinking about the past, the future, and the people you’ve disappointed.