Mea Culpa…

I have to begin today by correcting an error from a rant last week. I was talking about the impending retirement of Dick Enberg and said:

“Enberg had the call for the Ohio State/Cincinnati NCAA basketball championship game in 1961. That was the game that had Oscar Robertson on one side and Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Larry Siegfried and Bob Knight.”

I received a correction from the reader in Houston who is a top-shelf sports historian. I got part of the above right – but I depended on my memory and not on Google for the details here. Mea culpa… :

“Oscar was with Cincy in 1961, but it was the Cincy Royals of the NBA. He was in the Final Four with Cincy in 1959 and 1960, losing in the semis both years to Cal, which was led by Darrall Imhoff at center.

“The Big O finished his senior year after the 1960 season and played on the Olympic team in Rome beside Jerry West, which was a “dream team” before the “Dream Team”.

“Tom Thacker took over Robertson’s spot on the Bearcats in 1961. The 1961 game between Cincy and OSU was one of the greatest finals of all time, as Cincy beat undefeated reigning national champ OSU, 70-65 in OT, but since it was shown in only a few markets, it is hardly remembered by the public and media as a classic.

“Cincy also made it to the championship game in 1962, beating OSU again, but rather easily this time, as Lucas wrenched his knee in the semi-final win vs. Wake and was no match vs. Cincy’s Paul Hogue in the championship game, getting outscored, 22-11.

“Then in 1963, Cincy met Loyola Chicago in another classic game won at the buzzer on a put-in by the Ramblers’ Vic Rouse. Loyola trailed by 15 points with 14 minutes left. Once again, only a minority of us got to see the game on TV, so this game also is often overlooked as one of the great NCAA Finals of all time.”

Thanks to the reader in Houston for the correction and the expansion here…

In Boston, the Red Sox have put Pablo Sandoval on the DL with a shoulder injury. Some people have suggested that this is a phantom injury and the real problem is that Sandoval is too fat to play well. If indeed, this is a ruse on the part of the team, they have gone to great lengths to establish the hoax. Sandoval has had an MRI on his shoulder and supposedly will see Dr. James Andrews for another examination.

As all of that is playing out, Sandoval’s former trainer, Ethan Banning, said that Sandoval needs a “baby-sitter” to help him control his eating. The former trainer likened Sandoval’s eating proclivities to an alcoholic’s drinking behaviors. Obviously, I am not qualified to make a determination here and I have no idea if Banning has the qualifications to make such a diagnosis. What I can conclude simply from observation is that Sandoval is way overweight.

I always enjoyed watching Pablo Sandoval play baseball back in his days with the Giants. Even then, his physique was atypical for a major league baseball player; but he played with a flare and a joy that made him fun to watch. After he signed his 5-year/$95M contract with the Red Sox before the start of the 2015 season, he added weight to his already corpulent stature. This year, he showed up in training camp even bigger; some folks speculated that he was at or north of “three bills” and the added weight did not help him in the batter’s box or defensively at third base. He lost the starting third base job to Travis Shaw who is a converted first baseman. Let me just say in summary that all is not well in Boston between Sandoval, the Red Sox and the Red Sox fans.

Now there are also rumors that the Red Sox would like to trade Sandoval but – and this is too easy – there are two large obstacles:

    1. Sandoval’s girth – and –

    2. Sandoval’s large contract which includes:

      $70M in base salary through 2019
      Club option at $17M per year or a $5M buyout in 2020
      Limited no trade clause (he can block trades to 3 teams)
      A suite in hotels for road games
      A variety of bonuses for various achievements.

Obviously, if Sandoval has a shoulder injury that is serious, no team will take on that contract until the injury is completely in the past. Even if that injury is healed – or if it never existed in the first place – most teams will be wary of assuming that contract for a player who is overweight and hit only .245 (with an OPS of only .658) last season.

A trade might help Sandoval get back to a sufficient condition where he was a sought-after free agent. In the Boston area, there is a Dunkin’ Donuts attached to about half of the gas stations there. If Sandoval has an eating disorder of some kind, that is not an environment that would work for him. I have no idea how all of this will end, but I believe that Pablo Sandoval needs to lose 30 lbs – and maybe 50 – in order for him to be the player he was in San Francisco.

Here is how Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times sees this situation:

“If corpulent Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval were a car, he’d be in the shop getting:

    a) heavier suspension springs
    b) a gas-tank reduction
    c) a belt replaced”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

3 thoughts on “Mea Culpa…”

  1. While he was a Giant, the Kung Fu Panda nickname fit Sandoval well, because he was indeed very nimble on defense. It’s sad to see him eat his way out of baseball, since he also enjoyed playing the game and interacting with the fans here.

    On the 1960 Rome Olympics, I think SI had a really good article on it about 20-something years ago. As with many other things at the time there were political overtones from the Cold War, in that the USSR powers that be guaranteed a victory over the USA collegians who had at least four future Hall of Fame members on the team. It was no contest.

    1. rugger9:

      I agree that it is sad to see Sandoval eat his way out of MLB. Hopefully, he can “get it back together” so that fans can see him play the way he used to play.

      The 1960 Olympic basketball team was a real powerhouse with 4 HoF players on the roster. The thing to remember from those days is that the team had to have representatives from colleges, the AAU and the Armed Forces. That meant that some top-shelf college players who would also go on to Hall of Fame careers were not on the team. John Havlicek, Dave DeBusschere and Doug Moe come to mind…

  2. While the Panda-mobile is in the shop it will need a smaller rear end. Also, get rid of the spare tire.

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