Pablo Sandoval apologizes for the way he left San Francisco

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Though third baseman Pablo Sandoval won three World Series rings with the Giants in 2010, ’12’, and ’14, he still left San Francisco on a sour note. After the 2014 season, he signed a five-year, $95 million contract with the Red Sox. He turned down a deal in the same neighborhood from the Giants.

Sandoval told Bleacher Report in March 2015 that it was “not hard at all” to leave the Giants, adding, “If you want me around, you make the effort to push and get me back.”

Sandoval said, “I knew early in spring training last year that I was going to leave. They didn’t respect my agent. Contract talks, everything. The way Brian Sabean talked to my agent.”

Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with anybody in San Francisco. Sandoval’s decision, though, worked out for the Giants as the Red Sox were on the hook for all of that money while he struggled. As a member of the Red Sox over parts of three seasons, he hit .237/.286/.360. He was a lightning rod for criticism, particularly concerning his weight, and the team made it a point to help him lose weight. The Red Sox released him last month and the Giants signed him shortly thereafter, assigning him to Triple-A Sacramento.

Sandoval didn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball at Triple-A, but with the Giants selling some parts at the deadline (including Eduardo Nunez), a roster spot opened up for him and he got the call back to the majors. He still hasn’t hit much, but he did slug a game-tying solo home run off of Max Scherzer in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 11-inning, 6-2 loss to the Nationals.

Today, Sandoval has a column up at The Players’ Tribune titled, “Back Where I Belong.” In it, he apologizes for the way he handled his exit from San Francisco. In it, he writes:

Before I continue, I want to take a moment to apologize to the Giants and to the fans. I know I already have, and I probably will again, but I don’t think I can apologize enough for the way I left — for some of the things I said. I said things I didn’t have to say. Things I don’t want to repeat. Things I didn’t mean. I was just so emotional when I left San Francisco, and I didn’t handle it the right way.

I made a mistake.

I’m very sorry.

The first thing that stands out to me is that this seems like a genuine apology. He doesn’t say, “I’m sorry that some people were offended” or “I’m sorry some people misinterpreted what I meant” like a lot of people have done in the past to avoid having to take actual ownership of poor behavior. Sandoval didn’t have to apologize, and he could’ve certainly done so in a way that saved him more face. It takes guts to put yourself out there like that.

Now for the cynicism. Sandoval’s major league career is on thin ice. He’s still not producing after two and a half years of not producing for the Red Sox. He has a .634 OPS on the season. To add to that, he’s an aging player with below-average defense who can realistically only play two positions, both of which typically require a solid bat. Sandoval’s on-field production isn’t likely to land him a job in the future, but everyone likes a redemption story, so one wonders if this is his angle to try to prolong his career. As Craig pointed out on Twitter, players have been using The Players’ Tribune as a “transparent PR vehicle.” It’s not wrong at all for Sandoval to try to rebuild his image, but knowing this adds context to what he said.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he “passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 – going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

“Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons among legendary teammates like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who said Thursday that Perry “was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal.”

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as “smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened.”

“During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues,” Marichal said. “I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Giants teammate Orlando Cepeda said Perry had “a great sense of humor … a great personality and was my baseball brother.”

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse,” Cepeda added.

Seattle Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a release that he spoke with Perry during his last visit to Seattle, saying Perry was, “delightful and still passionate in his opinions on the game, and especially on pitching.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

Perry is survived by wife Deborah, and three of his four children in Allison, Amy and Beth. Perry’s son Jack had previously died.

Deborah Perry said in a statement to The AP that Gaylord Perry was “an esteemed public figure who inspired millions of fans and was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor who changed the lives of countless people with his grace, patience and spirit.”

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.