Behold the splendor.
This year, you'll likely hear many varying opinions on the fitness level of one Pablo Sandoval. Here's your official guide to determining how fat the Kung Fu Panda is at all times.
Editor's note: Welcome Bill Hanstock to the stable of McCovey Chronicles contributors! Bill is a full-time editor and contributor at the SB Nation mothership, and he's also one of the minds responsible for Progressive Boink. If you're on Twitter and you don't follow him, you're missing oodles of quality Giants-related humor. "Bryan Murphy" will continue to assist with some of the post-game threads, and Mr. Hanstock will contribute the occasional feature when inspiration strikes him like Candy Maldonado's elbow of justice, whistling through the air and saving us all.
As Giants fans, I'm sure we're all used to hearing the same narratives about Pablo Sandoval and his personal-fitness level over and over again from national commentators, analysts, pundits, print journos and your assorted Kevins Millar. (Hi, I'm new here. Hope I'm in the right place. This is Bay City Ball, right?)
Well, in order to keep track of all the constantly shifting narratives about whether Pablo is fat or exactly HOW fat our favorite ursine is at any given moment, myself and resident SB Nation image expert Clay Wendler have gotten together to bring you the world's first and most accurate Pablo Sandoval Fat Meter.
Now what you're seeing in the image above is the empty Pablo Sandoval Fat Meter. You can consider this Level Zero. This is the blank-slate Pablo. The reset function. When your handheld Snoopy game goes on the fritz after you replace the batteries and you have to push the tip of a ballpoint pin into a metal divot to rejigger the diodes. That's what this is.
Level Zero is what we are currently dealing with, as Spring Training exhibition games have not yet begun. Did Pablo Sandoval show up to camp looking like D'Angelo, but with better abs? We don't know! Did he arrive on a litter pulled by a team of zebus, looking like an oozier Pizza the Hut? We don't know! Level Zero is blue sky Pablo. Schrödinger's Pablo. He's both the fattest and the skinniest person you've ever seen. He is glorious.
Requirements: (any of the following) Is batting .400, has a three-homer game, steals a base (!), makes two spectacular diving plays in a game
Talking point(s): Pablo's in the best shape of his life! That offseason conditioning sure paid off! Bruce Bochy loves his dedication!
When Pablo is hitting like a be-afro'd Ted Williams all hopped up on speedballs or fielding like Brooks Robinson with a very worrying tan, you can rest assured that everyone will talk about how he's turned a corner and is the svelte new Pablo 3.0, even though he looks exactly the same as he always does. Don't pay attention to that! Players wear those jerseys baggy now and you never can tell! Nothing to see here!
Requirements: (any of the following) Is batting from .330-.350, hits home runs in consecutive games, hits a walk-off home run, hits a triple(!)
Talking point(s): He's really been trying to get himself back into playing shape! Gotta admire his hard work and attempts to overcome fat adversity! (Fatversity, if you will.)
Pablo's doing great! Must be because he's eating the standard serving size of two Oreos each day, rather than his usual "two entire packages."
Requirements: (any of the following) Is batting over .300, hits a home run, picks up a clutch hit, makes a neat play in the field, lays off a pitch that bounces a foot in front of the plate
Talking point(s): You know, some guys just don't fit the standard "athlete" mold! People make a lot of fuss about weight, but Pablo's most comfortable being Pablo! So what if he's got a few extra pounds? Making mountains out of (guaca)molehills! I love this guy!
This is the most amiable the national sports personalities get when it comes to Pablo. There is a steep dropoff between this level and all subsequent levels.
Requirements: (any of the following) Is batting under .290, strikes out with a runner in scoring position, grounds into a double play, commits an error
Talking point(s): You know, Bruce Bochy wasn't happy with how Pablo got off his diet in the offseason. It's really starting to show what a lack of conditioning can do. Some guys benefit from a few extra pounds, but it's a fine line between "a few" and "too many" extra pounds.
Requirements: (any of the following) Is batting under .270, commits two errors, swings at the baseball on the scoreboard that was revealed to be hiding under the center helmet
Talking point(s): can you believe the team puts up with this fat motherf
Requirements: (any of the following) Goes 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, is called out on the basepath for refusing to run and instead eating a heaping bowl of fettuccine alfredo, swallows his mitt and then mauls Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias in order to swallow their mitts as well (he calls them "hand-jerky")
Talking point(s): GET THIS TUB OF LARD OFF MY TELEVISION HE SHOULD BE EXECUTED ON SIGHT YOU CALL THIS GUY AN ATHLETE GEEZ LOUISE
So I hope that clears things up for everyone. Please print out a copy of this article and keep it by your television or radio, or taped to the back of your smartphone or tablet. And enjoy this GIF, which is really just Pablo Sandoval's entire 2013 season narrative in one convenient location:
It's gonna be a long year.