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I watched third baseman Pablo Sandoval play in San Francisco for seven seasons. Yet I don’t think I have ever heard his name as much as I did a few weeks ago.
After a published photo showed Sandoval’s sagging waist at a Boston Red Sox spring training practice, people all over the nation were left buzzing with concerns about his weight issue as such a young athlete. But for Sandoval, should this really come as a surprise?
Native to Venezuela, Sandoval grew up in an economically disadvantaged region, never having the option to expand his simple and unsatisfying diet. Coming to the United States to play baseball not only meant an extraordinary opportunity for his career, but also an opportunity to satisfy all his unfulfilled cravings. Soon he found himself overeating and putting on excessive weight, which he has been known for since the beginning of his career.
In 2009, manager Bruce Bochy pressed Sandoval to start losing weight. Every offseason after that Sandoval would lose 30 or so pounds and start the season off appearing fit and healthy (well, more so than usual). But by the end of each season, he would somehow gain the weight back again.
So really, this news is nothing new.
Slightly changing the subject, something about Sandoval does concern me: He signed a contract worth $95 million.
The one part of professional athletics I have never brought myself to agree with is how much money they earn each year. It has become a lot like Hollywood — get paid far too much for simply showing a talent while getting free amenities at the same time.
It is true that athletes have a lot of pressure put on them and are required to travel around the nation away from their families half the year, which can be a huge strain. I could understand earning maybe a couple million dollars, but $95 million? Nope.
Sure, many would say Sandoval is worth such a large amount of money, considering his “Panda” trademark has earned the Giants millions of dollars. However, why would any one person need so much money, especially when they have only themselves to support?
This, to me, just exemplifies the great economic imbalance that is encouraged in this country. There are thousands of men and women overseas right this minute who are risking their lives for the safety of others, and they are barely making a salary substantial enough to survive. Yet there are others who get paid big bucks to play games. I don’t see the justice in that.
And yes, there are athletes like 2013 Lou Gehrig Award recipient Barry Zito who put that money to good use in programs dedicated to helping community members. I don’t see Sandoval doing that, though.
Oh, well. Let’s just leave the guy alone and let him get back to his brownie sundaes.