Bases Bloated: In Defense of Pablo Sandoval
If you’re the Boston Red Sox, you want to win. Like any major league ball team, you want to make it to the post-season so you stock your roster with talent. You spend more money on assets than a 17th century French noble who becomes king at nine-years old. In 2015, you sign Pablo Sandoval to a five-year $90 million contract with a sixth year club option of $17 million or a $5 million buy-out.
Then at spring training in 2016, you watch that money go down the drain as your asset loses the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. Then your asset finds his way on to the disabled list with a shoulder strain and your money continues to sail away down the drain like a rogue toothpaste cap. At this point, you might as well take the rest of your money, and light it on fire (or ask the Yankees the best way to do that, because A-ROD).
But this isn’t about the money. This is about this Sandoval guy. This is about a situation he finds himself in probably every day. It’s about how he can’t control his weight and the press is treating it like he’s a rich a-hole who eats for fun. It sounds like Pablo Sandoval has an eating disorder and it’s anything but fun.
As someone who isn’t a doctor (neither is Dr. Dre so don’t take medical advice from him), I can’t tell you for sure if he’s suffering from a binge eating disorder but it all sounds awfully familiar. Binge eating can take up a lot of your time and cause weight fluctuations that ruin your fave pair of leggings. It usually goes something like this:
Brain: Remember that time you said/did that thing in 1997 and everyone judged you?
Me: Yes. Thanks for reminding me. I was actually about to start thinking about another thing I did/said years ago that also made people hate me.
Brain: You can do both.
Me: There’s also that other thing I did/said that I can focus on too.
Brain: You should also eat an entire sleeve of Oreos while thinking of many things you did/said in the past.
Me: But I just ate dinner.
Brain: LOL. You’re too much. Fine. Wait five minutes and then eat the Oreos.
Me: What should I do in the meantime?
Brain: Eat a bowl of cereal.
Me: You want me to eat a bowl of cereal and then the Oreos?
Brain: Yup. You should throw some chips into the mix at some point.
Me: Good call.
Brain: Don’t forget to cry when you’re done your emotional eating tonight.
Me: Hah! I never forget to cry.
Stomach: Do I get in this?
Me and Brain: SHUT THE FUCK UP, IDIOT!
Sandoval’s former trainer blabbed to the press about the binge eating situation. Ethan Banning, who worked with Sandoval in San Francisco, said the third baseman needs a babysitter to tell him to stop eating. Other reports surfaced claiming the Giants banned Sandoval from ordering room service.
The media needs to stop trivializing eating disorders. Whether you’re a Red Sox fan or not – and I am VERY MUCH NOT – you should understand this is not okay. Binge eating is recognized by the DSM-5. (The DSM5 is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition and it’s basically like Tobin’s Spirit Guide for psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.)
Binge eating is real and if Sandoval is suffering from it, the media needs to take it down a notch.
Eating disorders aren’t reserved for high school girls who want to be as thin as their pop idols.
(In my day heroin chic was in and there is no eating disorder in the world that was going to make you look as cracked out and vapid as those Calvin Klein ads.)
They can occur in anyone and are often the co-morbid companion of unipolar depression, OCD and traumatic events. Everyone has a different relationship to food. Some of us eat three square meals and healthy snacks while the rest of us will chase an entire bag of Doritos with a wheel of cheddar cheese.
Life isn’t fair and for some people when life throws us lemons, we binge eat those lemons until we feel sick.
The only good that can come of this situation is that Sandoval gets help. I’ve been there, Pablo, and I’ll be there again. I know what it’s like to eat more than you can handle. I know what happens when you eat so much that it hurts and then you pause for five minutes before eating some more.
Eating disorders are serious business. They shouldn’t be mocked in the press because some famous baseball player can’t stop eating. It’s not just the media. The Twitterverse has been calling Sandoval fat, a fat fuck, a fat bastard and other horrible things that can be anonymously hurled his way like a breaking ball on a 1-2 count.
Sure, let’s make fun of a guy for binge eating because he makes millions of dollars. Koolbeans, society. We’re amazing. If you found out that your best pal was bulimic you would take it very seriously. So why is it that when a celebrity is suffering from an eating disorder, it’s all a big joke?
If the Red Sox really care about their third baseman, they’ll make sure he works at controlling his eating in a healthy way through moderated exercise and counseling sessions.
Until then, Pablo Sandoval, if you’re sitting down to a sleeve of Oreos, a wheel of cheese, a bowl of cereal, room service and a couple bags of Doritos, remember that it’s not a joke. You’re not a fat fuck. You’re a guy with an eating disorder and your only real problem is that you play for Red Sox because, EW.
I get it, I get it. He has a disorder so should be excused for transgressions in health and weight issues. I just can’t give the guy a pass on taking a $90 million contract and just sitting on the money. Money doesn’t buy happiness nor eliminate problems, but it can pay for lots of treatment, counselling and psychiatric care. No pass for the lack of professionalism at this level of pay for performance.