We will all be hearing more of the “Best shape of my life” cliches in the coming weeks as players report to spring training and are forced to say something, anything, to us breathless hordes of media types. In most cases, upon hearing the platitude, we’ll just check that check-box on our interview BINGO sheets, take a drink for the BSoL drinking game, make sure Dave Cameron is notified so that he can keep track, and move on.
In a couple cases, though, visual proof of the state can cause a double-take. Consider Pablo Sandoval in before and after shots. Pablito looks pretty good.
Sandoval’s shape has earned him a cuddly nickname or two, but also the derision of fans and front office types alike, so kudos to him for dropping a reported 22 pounds so far this offseason. That should help his defensive numbers at third base, and perhaps even his time to first base and, therefore, his once-vaunted BABIP.
But Cameron’s already cornered the research market on the BSoL phenomenon, so let’s stick to the visuals here. Next up? Prince Fielder.
Fielder’s case doesn’t come with the same stat-based excitement. So far there’s been no declaration of lost tonnage, and his battle with weight has had slightly less exposure to date in general. His recent dip in production wasn’t as precipitous, either, so the pressure and spotlight aren’t on his bathroom scale to the same extent. There’s also room for bigger sluggers and bigger people in our world, of course. But for his heart health, and perhaps for his batting average, this new Petit Prince is probably the better way to go.
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