Today is a sad day. Pablo Sandoval is no longer on the Giants. I will spend the afternoon putting my daughter's Giants Pillow Pet panda on a raft, pushing it into Lake Chabot, and firing flaming arrows at it. Also, evading the police. Today is a sad day.
But there were good times, no? There were good times. Let us remember the good times. Here are the top Pablo moments from his Giants career, presented in chronological order. As usual, I screwed up and left something off, but that's the tagline of the site by now, so deal with it.
Walk off vs. Nationals
This was a fun one. The Giants hadn't won a World Series in San Francisco yet, so all we had were these lousy walk-off wins to buoy our spirits. At the time, this was the most exciting hit in ... three years? Dunno, close to it. The Giants were down to their final strike, and then Sandoval whomped one over the wall. He was so good in 2009, y'all. I don't miss the spilsborghian feeling that nothing was ever going to work out for the Giants, but I miss the excitement of a 22-year-old Panda doing fantastic things a year after we were barely aware of his existence.
Pablo Sandoval lost his job to a 54-year-old Edgar Renteria, essentially. For all the Señor Octubre talk, it's worth remembering just how bad Sandoval was leading up to the 2010 postseason. He had this hit, though, and the Giants won the World Series later. Mostly without his help after that, but he'll always have this double.
Other walk off vs. Nationals
Apparently, Pablo Sandoval is a total jackass to the Nationals, constantly slapping books out of their hands when they walk down the hall and such. I don't know what they did to deserve it. The first walk-off came when the Nationals were quite possibly the worst team of the decade, give or take. This one came when the Nationals were supposed to be excellent. I'm not sure if that makes it cooler or not, but I do know that Sandoval hit the corked snot out of that ball. It was the second-longest homer of the year (464 feet).
Come baaaaaaack, Pablo.
Travel back in time to 2008. The Giants have two portly, slow catchers. One of them is Bengie Molina. The other one is Sandoval, whom Molina is going to treat like "a son." You are in a bar, watching the Giants lose to the Portland Beavers, 11-1. You slap a $100 bill on the table.
"Both Molina and Sandoval will hit for the cycle in the next five years. I will put down this $100 bill. You can take the bill for now, but if it happens, I will return for your eternal soul, which will belong to me."
Someone would take the $100 bill. And when Sandoval hit for the cycle, that person would live the rest of their lives in fear of a mysterious stranger who would never return. Basically, what I'm saying is that would use a time machine for trolling, and not much else.
Three home runs vs. the Tigers
This will be the iconic highlight. Unless it's Sandoval catching the last out of the 2014 World Series. I can't decide! I love them all so much. After struggling and falling behind in the NLDS and NLCS in 2012, it was weird to watch the Giants storm ahead and never look back for once.
When we can make books with GIFs on the cover, my biography of Sandoval will be titled, "Pablo Sandoval: Wow."
Three home runs vs. the Padres
This was toward the end of a stinky season, but a reminder that individual feats in individual games could still be an incredible amount of fun. Pablo Sandoval doubled the total number of home runs hit at Petco Park since it opened, and everyone was richer for it. Especially Pablo, who is much richer now.
It's too soon.
Come baaaaaack, Pablo. Why? Why? Why? Was it something Ratto wrote? Is there something we can do? Let's go out and get a drink and talk about this.
I screwed up and left this off my most-important-hit post last week, but it should have been on there. If Pablo pops it up, the Giants lose the game, and there's a not insignificant chance they lose the series. If Posey isn't carrying a dozen old-timey irons in his underpants, this is remembered as The Hit That Won the Game. Instead, it's a deep track that only aficionados will remember in a few years. It's probably the most important hit of Pablo's Giants career, to be honest.
Just prior to the Giants catching up, the Royals were yukking it up, acting awfully loose for a team that could still win the World Series. Instead of going down 3-1, though, the Giants came roaring back with the help of Sandoval, who had two right-handed hits at a time where it seemed like he wasn't going to get another right-handed hit again.
The final out
Fare thee well, Panda. You were a good Giant who gave this organization more than almost any player before it. There were dingers and doubles, there were diving catches, and you even threw out would-be base stealers at a 33-percent clip before you were moved to third by some prescient genius.
The Giants released this statement:
Pablo Sandoval has been a key member of the Giants since breaking into the Majors with us in 2008. He has been with us through some of the greatest moments in San Francisco Giants history - including all three World Series Championships. We will never forget his World Series MVP performance in 2012 and his numerous contributions to the 2014 Championship. His connection with Giants fans - young and old - is truly special and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston.
We are extremely proud of what our team accomplished in 2014 and we look forward to continuing to invest in and strengthen our team for next season.
I've read that four times while syncing it with this:
Come baaaaaack, Pablo. Come baaaaaaaaaaack.
Unless Yasmany Tomas is better. Because if that's the case, this might work out after all.
This is so danged weird.