Tagged: Pablo Sandoval


 Everyone has a holy grail or two. The item — or items — that elude them, tantalize them, tease them. Maybe it’s something huge like a valuable antique baseball card, or an original seat from Yankee Stadium.

  Maybe it’s something innocuous but elusive, something from their childhood.

  But whatever it is, you’re always on the lookout for it, scanning eBay, keeping a peripheral eye on the shelves at your local supermarket or grocery store, finding yourself pulled into those “antique markets/4,678 dealers under one roof!” places you may drive by one day while on the road.

  My “holy grail” list is reasonably small and eclectic (hey, just like me!).

  But the latest addition to it is this:

  That’s right. I want an Operation Panda T-shirt (no, not the whole group of guys, just the shirt). I want to wear it in my home office (a fancy name for the crappy Staples desk and Dell laptop where I spend the bulk of my time) and remember how everyone in my 2009 online fantasy league laughed (sure it was online but I HEARD THEM LAUGH) when I chose Pablo Sandoval with my second overall pick in the draft.

Little Futures Me and Pablo in Dugout 2.jpg
  I am not jumping on the Pablo Sandoval bandwagon, by the way. I’ve been following the big huggy bear’s career since he was a 19-year-old infielder who appeared in the first Minor League All-Stars Futures Game I ever covered, in Pittsburgh in 2006. (Though this picture was from his 2008 Futures appearance in NYC). I kept following as he moved back behind the plate to his favorite position, catcher, and helped lead one of the best Minor League rotations to great heights in the California League in 2008, catching up with him briefly during the Carolina-California League All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach (below, with his San Jose pitcher Jesse English) before his ascent to the big leagues that September.
Little Pablo Sandoval chats with teammate Jesse English before Caro Cali ASG.jpg
  I admired his bubbly sense of humor and his pride in his brand new metal-mouth full of braces that he flashed in January 2009 at last year’s Rookie Career Development Program. And when I heard he’d gotten a bad-bounce groundball in the mouth the following spring, the first thing I thought was “Oh no, his braces!!!!!!”

  But the Panda T-shirt is not the only item on my holy grail list (though it is the only one that is baseball-related).

  Last night I managed to hit the payload while heading home from dinner with relatives in New Jersey, as we swung into the parking lot of a Shop Rite on Route 1 and cleaned them out of all of the Snapple Mint Iced Tea:

Mint Snapple.jpg
  Other items I am always looking for:

  The original Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo. I don’t mean any of that new “Herbal EssenceS” crap that comes in every color and nasty fruity scent. We’re talking the real green here, the oddly shaped bottle with the emerald gold that smelled like spring. I saw it on eBay for like $40. $40 for a bottle of 10-year-old shampoo???
herbal essence.jpg
  Also on the lookout for Coconut Yoo Hoo. The only place I ever saw it was at a gas station convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, right at the end of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. My sister and I would stop there for six-packs of Coconut Yoo Hoo and bingo lottery tickets. Rumor has it that the product was bought out by this other company that calls it Koko Blanco but I can’t find that anywhere either.

  One item that was long on my list but now is apparently available on eBay for a reasonably affordable price ($65 per bottle … hey, once upon a time you could only find it for $500 a pop) is my “signature scent” perfume, Andiamo by Borghese. To this day I will run into people I knew when I was in my 20s or even teens who will hug me and say “you still smell like you.” I’m down to my last four bottles of the precious and may eventually have to go back to eBay to stock up my stash but I hold out hope that at some point in the meantime, the folks at Borghese will bring it back, even for a limited time, so I can not only buy the bottles but also the bubble bath and body lotions that use to be part of the gift set!

So what are YOUR Holy Grail items? Share them here, you never know who may have one just lying around that they might want to share!!! (And if anyone happens to have a bottle of Herbal Essence at the back of their closer, you know where to find me!!!)


Wow, is my cyberface red. As pinch-hitter for Jonathan Mayo this week (and for the coming two weeks) on the Futures Exchange beat, I singled out a pair of players who could be getting “the call” in coming weeks, and suggested that the Cleveland Indians might finally be able to bring up much-ballyhooed right-hander Adam Miller who was coming off a start a few days earlier of five-inning two-hit ball and had a pretty nifty 1.88 ERA in six starts. Since he had had a good-year/bad-year tendency (read: healthy year/injured year) it seemed like this might be one of those good (read: healthy) years.

Not so fast there, Johnson.  

Turns out that even as that article was going up on the site, Miller was undergoing surgery that might end his 2008 season. Oy.

Hopefully not everything I’ve written this week on MiLB.com will result in guys on the DL, however.

I was glad to have a chance to give some love to the California League catchers in my current Perspectives column, most notably Pablo “Pablito” Sandoval.This is a guy for whom the words “tearing it up” in the Cal League would be an understatement right now.

Prior to this season, I was assigned the job of writing the weekly Cal League notebook which means I now know more than I ever thought I’d know about a league 2000 miles away (and hey, guys, any time you want to send me out there on a road trip to see these guys up close and personal, I’m there!!!). And I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed like every time I singled out a guy who was raking, he turned out to be a catcher …

But Sandoval has been a favorite of mine for awhile anyway and I’m really looking forward to, I hope, seeing him in Myrtle Beach on June 24 at the Carolina-California League All-Star Game. Back in 2006, my first year with MiLB.com, I was at the All-Star Fanfest in Pittsburgh and doing a show on air with my partner Jonathan Mayo, where we had a few of the Futures prospects on hand to chat with live and in person.

Sandoval,_Pablo_web.jpgI can’t remember who we were supposed to interview, but there was a last-minute change and Sandoval offered to come on with us on very short notice … such short notice that we didn’t know he’d be out guest until he sat down in the seat between us on stage. Luckily I recognized him and knew his story so we kind of winged it.

Just 19 at the time, the Venezuelan-born Sandoval had MLB’s Sylvia Lind with him to serve as interpreter but I noticed that he definitely understood everything I was asking him in English, even though he was responding in Spanish, because he was answering immediately without waiting for her to translate my questions INTO Spanish. 

He had a great sunny personality and I am definitely looking to following up that interview next month. Maybe this time he’ll even answer in English because my Spanish is pretty non-existent (that is the one thing I really want to rectify … I would LOVE to go to a Spanish immersion program this coming off-season. I’ve been trying to use the “Spanish for Gringoes” CD in my car but it’s not quite enough to enable me to interview baseball players).

Finally, I just want to add in one more plug for a fantastic new blog on our pro side, Behind the Lens which is written by producer/cameraman extraordinaire Joe Cronin (no, not that Joe Cronin). I probably spend more time on the road with him than I do with most members of the family (and the fact that he has yet to kill me without actually being related to me says volumes about what a great mellow guy he is). But aside from his talent as a multi-media god he is also a hilariously funny writer. And maybe if I continue to say enough nice things about his blog he won’t post any of my video bloopers.