The year for Pablo Sandoval was wretched to say it kindly. Sandoval after tearing the cover off the ball was being pushed as the next great Giant superstar. He had a monster swing and the fun loving personality that everyone from the fans to the media was drawn to. The team pounced on him and made him Kung Fu Panda and shopped this everywhere. This was the beginning of the misery that was 2010 for Sandoval.
“I think we learned a lesson as an organization that we probably put him too far out there in our offseason with the “Panda Inside” banner and we learned that can put a lot of pressure on a player or, in fact, maybe in some ways it worked against him having to live up to that hype,” Sabean said. “The reason I mention this is we’re not going to make that same mistake with Posey. We’re going to try to let these guys fly under the radar, because we know the second time around they are marked men. … This kid right now is a hole card and he doesn’t really have a position until he gets his act in order.”
At east Sabean understands that he made a mistake. The pressure put on Sandoval buried him. Every swing he took was like he was trying to hit two grand slams in the same swing. Gone was the hitter that went with every pitch to any part of the field. He was just trying to be a slugger. He also bought into the he is the best at hitting bad pitches. If the ball was anywhere within his grasp, he was swinging. The result is all his numbers plummeted.
Sandoval also went through a messy divorce. He would miss time for the proceedings and lose serious focus. The divorce and custody battle put even more strain of his already strained shoulders. With all these issues going on Sandoval had a hard time staying in shape. The rotund Sandoval did not look like a man keeping his strength and conditioning up.
However, there are positive signs for 2011. Despite all the trauma going on in his life, he still hit .268 with 13 homeruns and 68 RBIs. It is not like he hit sub .200 with absolutely no power. The man showed he can hit, if he has a clear head and works himself into shape.
He should have all the motivation in the world to stay in shape. Early reports are the fact he is not guaranteed anything is having him work like never before. If Sandoval comes into camp in shape and ready to roll, a great part of this battle for redemption is won.
The biggest key is there is less pressure on Sandoval to perform. The team is not putting expectation on his shoulders. He is being asked to get in shape and prove he can be an effective hitter. He knows he can do that from his 2009 season. He can easily regain this form with a little work.
Sandoval’s home life is also much more stable. His divorce is over. The custody battle is over. His home life is settled. Pablo can go back to picking up the pieces of his life after this bitter break up. To have no worries and a clear head will help with Sandoval’s focus. A focused Sandoval will bounce back in 2011.
2010 is over for Sandoval. Despite the misery, he is a World Series champion. Sandoval also is looking for redemption in 2011. My money is look for a return to form from the former icon that is Kung Fu Panda. GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!