Pablo Sandoval's weight was a big concern last year. And in 2011, when a slimmed-down Panda showed up, it was presumed he'd have a bounceback year. He did.
But is it a concern that he's taking a month off after the season to ... rest? Because Bruce Bochy sounds concerned.
“This month he’s planning on taking has to be done the right way,” Bochy said, via Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury-News. “We’ll keep an eye on him. He knows how important it is to keep the weight off. He’s a different player, offensively and defensively.”
What about this year, though? Has he gained weight? Because it's the topic of much discussion amongst fans and Giants writers/bloggers. Bochy admitted Panda had packed on a couple of pounds.
“He’s put on a few,” Bochy said. “But not like he did last year. Overall, it’s been good.”
Aha! So we don't actually even have to go to the obviously irrefutable photographic evidence of Panda pictures in order to find out how much fatter he's gotten.
But I downloaded and cropped them already, so we might as well get our Benjamin Button on. Plus, then you'll be able to point and laugh at Pablo. Or me.
Here's Sandoval just last night. Note the tightness of the girth and the near explodability of the dip can in his back pocket. Yes, I know he's maxed out with his swing and probably stretching. Whatever.
Here's Sandoval from August 17, nearly a month ago, looking much the same. One could argue that he's already slimmed down. But then one would be debating the difference in a photo with his back turned versus a photo that's front-facing. Plus, everyone knows those grey uni's are just soooo slimming.
Now, here's Sandoval on July 15. Again, it's really hard to tell whether he's fatter or not here because he's leaning forward instead of at the apex of his swing (at which point his shirt would be stretched). I wouldn't say we're seeing a difference here yet.
This one's from June 15, two days after Panda was activated from the disabled list. You could argue that, yes, he looks a little slimmer than he does in July, August or September. You could also argue that he should be wearing stripes like the frat dude to his left. Then we'd REALLY be talking about weight gain.
Finally, here's Sandoval on April 20, and you can see ... OH MY GOD WHERE DID HE GO? No, just kidding, he's right there. And still kind of thick. However, I'm gonna go ahead and say that there's a clear-cut difference between April and September. Note how much baggier he's wearing his clothes -- as a formerly fat person who vacillates between chubby and chunky, I can promise you that's what we do when we start putting on pounds.
That being said, who cares? He's had a good year, compared to last. Obviously, everyone would rather Panda be in better shape than "not better shape" because that just makes him a better athlete.
But it's not like Pablo's belly signed Miguel Tejada to a $6 million contract.