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Pablo Sandoval deserved World Series MVP, and so did Giants’ pitching

Pablo Sandoval practically added his name to the World Series MVP trophy when he clubbed three home runs in Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers, so it was no surprise to hear him named MVP of the Fall Classic after the Giants swept the Tigers on Sunday night.

Sandoval was as deserving as a World Series MVP can get. The two-time All-Star hit .500 (8-for-16) in the World Series with a team-high 4 RBIs and 18 total bases. He also made history in Game 1 by becoming the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a World Series game.

Sandoval was also the team’s overall postseason MVP. His 24 hits were one short of tying a postseason record. He led the Giants with the 24 hits, 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, and 47 total bases. Sandoval posted a 1.098 OPS against what’s supposed to be the best pitching in baseball.

While Sandoval was the clear offensive standout for the Giants throughout the playoffs, San Francisco had many pitchers truly elevate their games during the postseason.

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Pablo Sandoval hits three home runs in historic night (Video)

The San Francisco Giants trounced the Detroit Tigers 8-3 in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night in San Francisco, and they were led by Pablo Sandoval who had a historic night.

The pudgy third baseman affectionately nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda” went 4-for-4 with three home runs, a single, three runs scored, and four RBIs in what was nearly a perfect night at the plate. Sandoval was pulled for a defensive replacement late in the game, but not before amassing 13 total bases — one less than Albert Pujols’ record 14 achieved in last year’s World Series.

Sandoval, a two-time All-Star, joined Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson, and Babe Ruth (twice) as the only players in MLB history to homer three times in a World Series game. His three-homer game was also the second in AT&T Park history. Former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Kevin Elster was the first player to hit three home runs in a game at the park. Elster accomplished the feat on April 11, 2000, in the first game ever at the park, back when it was named Pac Bell Park.

Let’s recap Sandoval’s three home runs:

    - First off Justin Verlander went 411 feet to center
    - Second off Justin Verlander went 360 feet to left field
    - Third off Al Alburquerque went 422 feet to center

Sandoval was already considered one of the better hitters in the National League, but Wednesday’s magical performance may have put him in a new category. He is now in a class with three other players, two of who are already in the Hall of Fame, and a third who will be joining them before long. Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols, and Pablo Sandoval. That is some impressive company.

Giants combine for craziest catch of the year (Video)

Giants infielders Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford combined to make one of the craziest catches of the year, though it was Crawford’s amazing reflexes that made it possible. Astros catcher Jason Castro fouled a ball down the left field line during Tuesday’s game and Sandoval, who was playing third, seemed to have it. Sandoval lost control of the ball as he went to the ground, and he flipped it in the air unintentionally. Crawford alertly dove for it and made an awesome grab to end the first.

Crawford also made a sweet over-the-shoulder basket catch later in the game just so you would know that wasn’t a fluke. The second-year player isn’t doing much at the plate, but he’s holding his own at shortstop for the Giants.

Sandy Alderson: Pablo Sandoval beat David Wright in All-Star voting because of his ‘cute nickname’

Pablo Sandoval won the fan vote to become the starter for the National League All-Star team at third base despite missing over a month because of a hand injury and having inferior stats to David Wright. The Mets have understandably been upset that Wright wasn’t voted in as the starter given how much he’s outperforming the competition.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson let loose at the whole spectacle with the following tweet:

Pretty strong burn from Alderson. He and anyone who values integrity in the All-Star Game starting lineups should be upset that Sandoval was voted in as the starter, but Alderson’s tweet overlooks two important factors in Sandoval winning the vote: He’s liked by Giants fans because he’s good, and Giants fans stuffed the ballot box for almost all their eligible players.

Buster Posey won the fan vote over Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz, both of whom were more deserving. Giants fans also made Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Melky Cabrera, and Angel Pagan some of the most-voted players.

So no, the Pablo Sandoval didn’t win the vote because he has a cute “Kung Fu Panda” nickname, but because Giants fans stuff the ballot box. And don’t think they’re above rigging the vote, either. They’ve done it before.

H/T Hardball Talk

Pablo Sandoval Talks to His Bat, Hits Two Home Runs (Video)

It is easy to poke fun at athletes for their strange superstitions — especially baseball players. When rumors about a high school team prompts this type of investigation you can’t help but laugh.  When an All-Star second basemen does this in an attempt to break out of a slump or Aubrey Huff chooses to wear these underwear, they become easy targets of ridicule.  But if it works, what can you say?  Pablo Sandoval channeled his inner Pedro Cerrano Monday night and it paid off in a huge way after he belted two home runs.  Check out the video of Pablo Sandoval talking to his bat:

Whatever serious conversation he was having with his lumber must have worked.  The question is does he talk to the bat all the time and just happened to hit two homers in this game, or did he hit two homers after deciding to give his wand a lecture.  Either way, that is pretty impressive.

Pablo Sandoval Sacked by the LBS Nut Bag for His Waxy Look

Pablo Sandoval does not have a wax figure but that doesn’t mean he can’t look like one. The Giants had a day off Monday and Kung Fu Panda decided to get a makeover. He asked his twitter followers for haircut suggestions and opted for corn rows. The barber may also have doubled as a beautician because Pablo ended up with the worst eyebrow wax job I’ve seen.

Seriously, I can’t tell if Sandoval had those brows drawn on, painted on, stenciled on, or what, because he just doesn’t look right. If you told me that was a picture of a new Pablo Sandoval wax figure at Fisherman’s Wharf, I totally would have believed it. He looks more plastic than the Barry Bonds wax statue.

Is he wearing foundation? Eye shadow? Lipstick? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was trying out for a role in the sequel to The Birdcage. Yikes!

Picture via Sandoval’s twitter account, story via 22 Gigantes

Pablo Sandoval Reportedly in Good Shape, Down 17 Pounds

I’m not sure what is more surprising: the San Francisco Giants actually winning the World Series last season, or the Giants having a successful season despite a major dropoff from Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval, who hit .345 in only 41 games in 2008, broke out with 25 home runs and a .943 OPS while becoming San Francisco’s best hitter in 2009. The “Kung Fu Panda” movement was born that year, and Sandoval became an instant fan-favorite.

A year after bursting onto the scene, Sandoval stumbled and became one of the biggest disappointments in baseball. He had a torrid April, but followed that up by batting .234 the next two months. By the time the playoffs rolled around, Sandoval found himself on the bench, replaced by Juan Uribe at third base. Uribe’s now a Dodger, meaning the Giants will need Sandoval to regain his 2009 form. They’ve even talked about the possibility of demoting him to the minor leagues if he doesn’t turn things around.

Many critics blamed Sandoval’s struggles on him being overweight and out of shape. True, Sandoval is 5’11″ and easily over 250 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from tearing it up in 2009. Regardless, people look for reasons and the weight issue is an easy target. Sandoval has been trying to get in shape for some time and it appears as if he’s finally done so this off-season.

Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to former Giant Rich Aurilia whose sister’s boyfriend saw Sandoval pass out at 31 Flavors last night who saw Sandoval in Phoenix and said Pablo had slimmed down. Sandoval told Aurilia he has lost 17 pounds this winter, with the goal of losing seven more. I’ll believe it when I see it, but the good news for Pablo and Giants fans is that the Panda seems serious about regaining his top form.