It’s May 25, 2011 and the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants are playing against the Florida Marlins. The game is tied 6-6 in the 12th, but the Marlins have runners on first and third with only one out. Emilio Bonifacio lifts a fly ball to right center. The Giants’ Nate Schierholtz has plenty of time to get under it, makes the catch and fires home to try to gun down Scott Cousins. Waiting for Cousins at the plate is catcher Gerald Dempsey Posey III, AKA Buster Posey, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. Posey tries to block the plate and make the tag, but Cousins drives straight into Buster. The collision is ugly. The aftermath worse.
Posey fractured a bone in his lower leg and tore three ligaments in his ankle. He was out for the remainder of the season.
This incident sparked concern for the safety of catchers across the league. Seeing Posey writhing in pain behind home was all Giants manager Bruce Bochy needed to see. He started a campaign to create a new rule to protect catchers trying to protect the plate, and after a few years it finally came to fruition. In 2014, MLB introduced Rule 7.13, informally known as the “Buster Posey Rule,” which prevented runners from moving out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher. It also prevented catchers from blocking the plate from runners unless they already had possession of the ball. Basically, that moment between Cousins and Posey changed baseball forever.
While Pablo Sandoval didn’t play in that game, he was a member of those San Francisco Giants during that season. He witnessed the Posey catastrophe first-hand from the dugout. You’d think Sandoval would be horrified by that sight. I mean, he was even brought up to the Major Leagues as a catcher before transitioning to third base. That could’ve been him if the Giants decided he needed to stay at his original position. Well, apparently, Sandoval didn’t learn a damn thing.
In the 7th inning of, get this, a 6-6 ballgame in the Mexican League, Sandoval rounded third and smashed into Saraperos’ catcher Hans Wilson, while trying to score the go-ahead run. There is no “Buster Posey Rule” in the Mexican League, so all Wilson saw was Kung Fu Panda trucking toward him at full speed with malicious intent. The catcher recorded the out, but then stayed on the ground in pain. Teammates and onlookers watched in horror hoping he was alright. You know who wasn’t there making sure he was OK, though? Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval just walked away from the whole incident. Sure, he did stick around for a moment and put his hand on Wilson’s chest (presumably in an effort to apologize) while he was on the ground, but that’s the bare minimum. If somebody put me in the hospital with a broken leg and they came to the hospital only to say “Hey, I’m sorry,” pat me on the back, and walk away after thirty seconds, I’d be livid.
You can see Sandoval in the video, mozying back to the dugout after consoling Wilson for exactly seven seconds, never even glancing back at the mayhem he caused. He showed no signs of remorse. What an asshole! Seriously.
I guess I shouldn’t have expected much from someone who threw his Giants teammates under the bus as soon as he left for Boston in 2015. Then, only when the Giants brought him back in 2017, Sandoval tried to take back all of those comments. That’s such a soft move, and anybody with half a brain can see through that apology.
As beloved as Sandoval was when he played in the Big Leagues, it’s moments like this that remind us of his true colors. He’s always been a self-centered asshole who got by on his fluffy panda persona and 2012 World Series MVP. That catcher might miss the rest of the season, and Sandoval didn’t show the slightest hint at remorse. If that doesn’t expose him, I don’t know what will.