This time of year feels like a sports desert. So as we aimlessly roam, desperately in search of an oasis, let’s take in the sights and sounds, and offer up a few observations.
Pablo Sandoval is fat. Maybe, as San Francisco Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow has suggested, Sandoval has an eating disorder. Maybe Sandoval is undisciplined. Maybe he simply doesn’t care. But before we examine Sandoval’s psyche and explore the unbearable fatness of being, can we all stop and acknowledge that the Red Sox knew exactly what they were getting into?
In San Francisco, Sandoval’s problems were well documented. There were no secrets. And when the Red Sox, desperate for both a third baseman and a left-handed bat during a drought in their player-development system, signed Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million contract, manager John Farrell told us that Sandoval’s body “works for him.” The Red Sox didn’t have any concerns about signing Engelberg to play third base.
Then the Red Sox finished last again in 2015, while Sandoval hit .245 — just .210 after the All-Star break — and the team started rumbling that they wanted Sandoval to lose weight.
Please. You frauds. The Red Sox signed a fat guy, and now they’re complaining that he’s fat. Does anyone else see a problem with this? No one is excusing Sandoval, who should be willing to try everything up to and including hypnosis to extend his career. But lots of people have been piling on the player in recent days, and not enough have been piling on the team.
Besides, if I’m a Red Sox fan — and I have essentially spent my entire life in Boston — I’m far more worried about Hanley Ramirez at first base than Sandoval at third. Sandoval cares more. Ramirez doesn’t care at all.
But we digress.
Tiger Woods may be progressing. Or he may not be. It depends on whom and what you want to believe. But does anyone else find it peculiar that Woods is practicing on a simulator rather than in the actual outdoors, where you can get a far more accurate read on ball-striking?
It just doesn’t seem legit to me.
Earth to sports fans: Peyton Manning isn’t who you think he is. For that matter, as the demise of Woods taught us, neither is anybody else. Human beings come with human flaws, which means we all have some level of greatness, ineptitude, immaturity, stupidity, intelligence, compassion, heartlessness, integrity, deceit, arrogance and humility. It just depends on when you happen to catch us.
If you haven’t read the recent stories on former NBA player Delonte West, do so at all costs. The eight-year NBA veteran, who has a history of mental illness, was spotted wandering around barefoot and disheveled, his speech slurred. Talk about a sobering slap in the face.
If you’re Kevin Durant, why would sign anywhere but Golden State?
Mike Mayock suggests that North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz has the same “ceiling” as Andrew Luck. But let’s all remember that Mayock once tried to convince us that former Patriots backup Ryan Mallett showed “first-round arm talent” during a practice with the Patriots.
The bottom line? You just can’t trust these combine dorks.
How noble of Nationals pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to acknowledge he was at fault in last fall’s dugout altercation with Bryce Harper. I mean, he only tried to choke the guy out after picking a fight with him.
Anyone else think Von Miller will be cut within three years of signing his next contract?
Starting today, pick one: Pelicans’ Anthony Davis or Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns?
I’ve got Towns.
Sorry, but it’s hard to have any compassion for Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman, no matter his relatively docile reputation. Striking an official is the sports-world equivalent of hitting a cop. No leniency, no latitude. Zero tolerance.
The Chicago Cubs are now baseball’s darlings and an obvious focus entering the 2016, but let’s all remember: they are still the Cubs. It’s one thing to win a playoff series and reach the National League Championship Series when you are a curiosity. It’s another thing entirely when you are a favorite. Cubs president Theo Epstein has dealt with this before in Boston, but let’s remember that Epstein still had to make the in-season decision to trade Nomar Garciaparra before the Red Sox really crystalized and snapped an 86-year championship drought.
Which brings us back to this dreadful time of year on the sports calendar, when we can’t wait for NFL free agency, March Madness, the start of the NBA and NHL playoffs, the beginning of another major league baseball season, the Masters and the NFL Draft, among other things.
April just can’t get here fast enough.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.