San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval is on top of the world. In Game One of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, the rotund Sandoval hit three home runs. He joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only players in major league history to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Very select company, to be sure.
To the surprise of no one, Sandoval was named the World Series’ Most Valuable Player after the Giants swept the Tigers. Sandoval, nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda”, outhit Detroit’s pair of power hitters, 2012 Triple Crown winning third baseman Miguel Cabrera, as well as slugging first baseman Prince Fielder. Sandoval’s Game One performance is the kind that creates legends, or at the very least, MVP award winners.
This would be the perfect opportunity for Sandoval to cash in on his sudden stardom. Maybe he’ll work the daytime talk show circuit in an effort to introduce himself to America (are you listening, “Live With Kelly and Michael”?). Maybe he’ll get an endorsement focusing on the panda theme; maybe some panda shaped cookies bearing his name, or a zoo endorsement.
But I digress. Sandoval’s World Series success is a feel good story. He doesn’t look like the prototype athlete, but he’s still able to perform at a high level when necessary. Plus, he’s embraced the panda persona, which should endear him to Madison Avenue advertisers in New York. He could be the perfect pitchman for a variety of products, considering that he looks like the everyday fan. Simply put, he relates to many of the fans that watch him play.
This isn’t to say that Sandoval will be the new face of Major League Baseball. Who knows, he may never achieve transcendent superstar status like New York Yankees’ stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Of course, he also has no control over whether or not he receives a stream of endorsement deals. However, the jovial demeanor that Sandoval displays gives him the potential to be a good spokesperson for any product or cause. I guess a World Series MVP will do that for you.