Tub of Lard

DATELINE: Inflategate Sandoval

Taking time off is a time tested solution to many problems. When you return, it’s the same old place: Red Sox spring training provided pound for pound laughter.

Panda Sandoval didn’t give interviews on his arrival. He chewed the fat.

Pablo Sandoval took off time this off-season.  Yet, he still carries the weight of the world in his hip pocket. When he showed up at spring training, he made the Red Sox front office look like it had enlarged the front porch. And, the caboose was not to be missed if you wanted to whistle stop with Pablo.

Not since John Wayne needed a step ladder to climb up into the saddle have we seen such a horse.

The Red Sox brain trust, led by manager John Farrell and Dum-Dum Dombrowsky, told us Pablo was dating Jenny Craig—and had slimmed down an unspecified number of stone (that’s Brit weight).

Instead, it looks like Sandoval, erstwhile Panda bear, has been dating Sarah Lee and Wendy at the same time, having those pancake breakfasts.

If you believe in a gut check for your team, the Sox had doubled the pleasure for third basemen. We saw a couple of six-pack Sox standing near Sandoval—and he was clearly winning the beer barrel lookalike on the team.

The last time we saw the Fat Man, he was giving Sam Spade trouble. We suspect the Fat Man will join the Fat Lady at singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park. It isn’t over till it’s over, but we never conceded the season on the first day of spring training—until now.