If you’re at all familiar with Pablo Sandoval’s work, you know the former World Series MVP is, among other attributes, quite large (Cosmo Kramer might describe him as, “long in the waistband”). Of course, much like Chris Farley, Jack Black and other amusingly full-figured performers, that’s part of Sandoval’s charm, displaying surprising athleticism for a player his size (Baseball Reference lists him at a conservative 268 pounds).
The big-league veteran, now playing south of the border for Olmecas de Tabasco of the Mexican League, got greedy during Thursday night’s game in Saltillo, turning for home on Alberto Carreon’s base hit to left field. Unable to slow down, or perhaps seeing no other recourse then to barrel through and hope for the best, the husky 35-year-old flattened catcher Hans Wilson, who miraculously held on for the inning’s final out.
That wouldn’t have been allowed back in the states, owing to a rule change in 2014, preventing runners from initiating collisions like the one that injured Sandoval’s former teammate Buster Posey. Sandoval has had a successful career with three World Series rings to his major-league credit. But Thursday, the former Giants third baseman looked like he was playing the wrong sport, doing his best impression of Titans running back Derrick Henry stiff-arming a defenseless Josh Norman into oblivion.
Had it occurred on a major-league diamond, this probably would have set off a full-fledged brawl (Carlos Mendivil replaced Wilson behind the plate the following inning). But Saltillo took the high road instead, choosing not to retaliate despite what many would consider a dirty play (what other conclusion could possibly be drawn?). Tabasco won by a final count of 7-6, improving to 26-21 on the year. Sandoval, who last played stateside for the Atlanta Braves, has played reasonably well in his 44 games this season, batting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBI.