There’s a fascination in baseball with the big, round guys on the field. Mets fans love to see dazzling feats of athleticism from portly pitcher Bartolo Colon, and it's always fun to watch the aptly nicknamed David “Big Papi” Ortiz crush a home run for the Red Sox. They're not paragons of fitness, necessarily, but they get away with their size because they keep producing for their teams.
And then there's Pablo Sandoval.
The starting Red Sox third baseman is in hot water right now with his team and fans for his appearance at spring training in Fort Myers, Florida—especially after this photo from the Boston Globe surfaced on Sunday:
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) February 21, 2016
Officials in the Red Sox organization reportedly had required Sandoval to lose a certain amount of weight before the start of the 2016 regular season on April 4. But according to ESPN, Sandoval stated that nobody had asked him to lose weight, and he hasn’t even stepped on a scale since October.
"I don't weigh. I don't weigh in at all," Sandoval said an interview with ESPN after being asked how much weight he had lost. "I just do my work, try to do everything I can out there. I don't weigh at all in the whole offseason. I just try to get better, be in a better position and, like I say, be an athlete."
According to Deadspin, Red Sox’s manager John Farrell said back in January that Sandoval had lost 20 pounds. Either he's gained it all back, or Sandoval was even bigger before losing that 20 pounds.
All this is not to say that baseball players can't be big guys. (Again: Colon and Ortiz are top-notch players for their respective teams). The problem with Sandoval’s weight is that he had an abysmal season last year. During his first year in Boston, Sandoval hit only at .245 and made 15 errors, a statline unbecoming of a player earning $95 million over 5 years.
When asked if he had anything to prove for the 2016 season, Sandoval responded: “No, I don’t got nothing to prove,” he said. “I just prepare myself to perform well, support my teammates and play and try to get to the World Series. That’s what I’m doing . . .”
Of course, his preparation probably looks something like our Big Man's Plan to Lose Weight and Build Muscle, which is designed to help naturally big dudes like Sandoval and Packers running back Eddie Lacy to get down to their optimal fighting weight. (Or you can check out the more bluntly named Fat Guy's Guide to Losing Weight.)
In the meantime, April 4th is still far away, so enjoy this meme, which could be the first of many.
The Life of Pablo. pic.twitter.com/LyXTeZpTQG
— Dan Worthington (@danWorthington) February 21, 2016