By now you’ve probably heard the story a few dozen times: Over the offseason, Pablo Sandoval got married, in what sounds like the party equivalent of hitting three home runs in one game during the World Series. Plenty of San Francisco Giants, past and present were . . . uhh . . . present, and the party raged on until well after the sun came up the next day.
Sandoval’s best man, despite surely being filled to the brim with fair-trade, single-origin, shade-grown, small-batch coffee, couldn’t quite make it to the proverbial ninth inning, and eventually tapped out. That best man, of course, was Hunter Pence.
That was back in early December. Sandoval was just three months into recovery from Tommy John surgery, and was expected to miss much of the upcoming season, and only be available as a designated hitter. Pence was a free agent, looking for a team interested in a the mixed bag of an injury-prone 36-year old who was coming off an All-Star season.
You all know what happened next. I don’t need to repeat for the trakillionth (that’s a large number in Pence’s planet’s language, btw) time what transpired, as the Giants surprisingly re-signed Sandoval, and then shockingly welcomed Pence back into the fold, leading us all to check under the couch cushions for a hidden Bobby Evans.
We all know the story. We’ve all been celebrating the story, or perhaps bemoaning it if grumpiness is your cup of tea. ‘Tis the season and all.
Yesterday, in a meaningless spring baseball game on the first Monday of March, it finally all came together. The Giants defeated Mason Saunders’ new squad, the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1. Batting third was Sandoval. Batting cleanup was Pence.
It was the first appearance of spring by the latter; the second for the former. They both went 1-2, with Pence knocking in a run (set up by Sandoval), and the Panda drawing a walk and scoring on a wild pitch.
They did the baseball, and they did it quite well.
Now there’s a chance we never see these two clap hands after a home run in a game that matters again. Pence has suffered injuries, and Sandoval isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season, since he’s still not playing in the field. And while Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris showed some beautiful fan sentiment by re-signing each player, they’ll be as ruthless as is necessary if the time comes to waive either. They’re still baseball moves, after all.
But for now, the happy reunion not only lives on, but has been fueled by the sight of Pence’s ridiculous gait in the batter’s box, as Sandoval shuffled off of first base. Two hitters filling up the middle of the lineup, leading their Giants to victory.
Just like 2014. Which was a damn good year.
Note: If you live in California, or any other state with their primaries today, please vote. You can find your local polling place here.