It appears that the Kung Fu Panda has finally seen the light:
…. Sandoval showed up at Triple Threat in Tempe, Ariz., properly motivated. It was up to owner/director Ethan Banning and his team, including O’Brien, to provide the structure he needed.
Just more than three months later, Banning reported that Sandoval weighed 240 pounds when he took his physical Friday morning. His body fat measurement went from 30 percent to 19 percent. Combined with an estimated gain of seven pounds of muscle, Banning said Sandoval has shed 45 pounds of goo.
…. Sandoval couldn’t do three pull-ups in early November. Now he does sets of 10. His legs shook when he tried to squat 135 pounds. Now he is squatting 400. The first day, Sandoval struggled to complete two reps of an exercise called the inverted row. He maxed out at 26 last week.
His flexibility and range of motion vastly increased, too. Sandoval, a switch-hitter, complained of constant hip pain last season, and now acknowledges that the problems wrecked his right-handed swing. (He hit .379 from the right side in ’09 but just .227 last season.)
“It was bad, my hips,” Sandoval said. “I (couldn’t) even get through to the ball. Now I can swing hard. Now I get loose and nothing is sore.”
Sandoval received chiropractic alignments and deep-tissue rubs — what Banning called “hurt-you” massages — to correct the dysfunction in his hips. Three months ago, he couldn’t touch his fingertips to his toes. Now he palms the floor.
That’s terrific news. If Sandoval can regain his breakout ’09 form, it’ll be like the champs picked up a premiere free agent.
UPDATE: Lincecum appears to be primed for a big season too. Man, what a difference a year –and a title– makes. Between the fantastic young pitching staff, the team has two terrific young hitters in Sandoval and Posey, and waiting in the wings is Brandon Belt, trying to force his way onto the club. These great young players are surrounded by, dare I say it, a solid, if unspectacular group of relatively modestly paid veterans, leaving the Giants, and Giants fans, with perhaps as bright a future as any team in baseball. I was dead wrong last year, and I’m happy that I was:
…. And a long time gone….
…. San Francisco Giants (1954)
Years since last championship: 56
Reason for gap: Though the Giants’ long drought is no secret, it’s still somehow shocking to see the team so far down this list given its status as one of the National League’a great franchises. This is a franchise that has 17 modern pennants and five championships, the team of John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, and Willie Mays. And yet, since they relocated to the West Coast, they haven’t been able to raise another flag. This is especially odd because the Giants have often had the talent to compete, have often had the financial support necessary, and have had the opportunity to win. Some aspects of the long slump are just a matter of bad luck, of not being able to win a key game in a postseason series. As Charles Schulz’s outraged response, a slightly different swing by Willie McCovey and we might not even be talking about more than a half-century without a Giants championship.
Notwithstanding the post-Bonds years, when Brian Sabean’s efforts to rebuild the team have been hamstrung by what must be an organizational edict not to sign any bats….
I figured I’d stop it right there. This is a BP piece, talking about the franchises that have gone the longest without a title. The Giants have the third worst streak in all of baseball, behind only Cleveland (62 years) and the Cubs (102 years). That is simply awful.
It reminds me that this team has no excuse not to make a run at a title, or should I say, had no excuse this past off-season not to make a serious commitment to building the championship caliber offense needed to compliment their championship caliber pitching staff. Fifty-six years. Longer than my whole life.
Wow. Nostradamus, my ass. You’d be hard pressed to find a faster turnaround of the fortunes of a team. I’ll say it again, kudos to Sabean and his staff, to Dick Tidrow, to the entire organization. There’s never been a better time to be a Giants fan, and that’s saying something.
Hat Tip to Baseball Musings