Memo to John Henry and the Red Sox organization: Stop making excuses and lying for your players. Oh yeah, and stop insulting your fans.
Red Sox principal owner John Henry met with the media on Wednesday and it didn’t take long before the questioning turned to the biggest story of spring training: Pablo Sandoval’s weight. By now, you’ve seen the photos of a big-bellied, big-jowled Sandoval roaming around the Red Sox spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.
It appears obvious Sandoval is pushing 300 pounds. Sandoval is listed as 5’11” tall. Yet John Henry had the gall to tell the media Wednesday that Sandoval arrived at Fort Myers with a body fat index of seventeen percent. What formula can you plug in the numbers 5’11” and, let’s say, 280 pounds and come out with the answer 17%? Here’s Henry’s quote:
“I think the main thrust of [Sandoval’s] offseason program was about agility and conditioning, so the only thing I will say is that he came in with a body fat ratio of 17 percent, substantially down from last year. That’s what we were looking for.”
Henry added, “Not many of us probably have 17 percent body fat.” That’s the one true thing Henry said. No, not too many people have 17 percent body fat, and, guess what, neither does Sandoval. Does anyone look at Sandoval and say, “There is one of the few people in the world who have 17 percent body fat or less”? Why would Henry even say that? Did he think anyone would believe it?
It’s insulting. And it’s infuriating. Does Henry think that just because he is obscenely rich he can say anything and everyone will believe him. Who does he think he is, Donald Trump?
Listen, the only thing that matters is how Sandoval plays on the field. He is getting criticized before he has even played a single exhibition game. He says he has been working on his agility and his right-handed swing. According to several media reports, he is looking good in the field and has refined his right-handed swing (he abandoned switch-hitting early last season).
But don’t go telling fans that Sandoval is in “substantially” better condition than he was last year. Henry’s comments continue a string of lies from Sox management regarding Sandoval’s conditioning. Manager John Farrell said in January that Sandoval has lost twenty pounds during the offseason.
He was quoted at the time by CSNNE’s Sean McAdam as saying, “I know for a fact that both guys [Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez] went into the offseason with some clear markers, with some clear goals to achieve from a physical standpoint. Both are doing that.” Note that Farrell said both players were given “clear markers,” not merely being told to get in better shape.
It’s kind of hard to say that Sandoval had lost twenty pounds when a) it doesn’t pass the eye test and b) Sandoval said this week that he never once stepped on a scale during the offseason.
Then you have president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski saying that he is satisfied with the shape Sandoval arrived at camp. “You could tell he was in better shape, so, no, I don’t have any concerns more so than anyone else.”
Dombrowski continued to make excuses for Sandoval, “He’s always been a big guy. He has one of those bodies that is not a svelte body.” So is that an excuse to not even try?
And the most insulting comment from Dombrowski? “They call him Panda for a reason.” Oh, really? Good thing Sandoval’s nickname isn’t “The Big Whale.” Don’t want to mess with the marketing potential.
Throw into the equation Sandoval’s opening comments about not having anything to prove to fans and chalking up last year’s disappointing season as “it’s baseball,” and it hasn’t been a good start for Sandoval. Of course, the Red Sox again make excuses saying that English is a second language to Sandoval so take his quotes with a grain of salt.
Blah, blah, blah. Maybe the Red Sox should learn something from Bill Belichick. Just say less and let Sandoval’s play on the field do the talking. Don’t say anything in the offseason about how hard Sandoval is working and how much weight he has lost. You don’t have to answer every question that is posed to you by the media.
Just keep your mouths shut. Stop lying, stop insulting your fans, and start holding your players and managers accountable.