By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- It's not hyperbole to argue that Pablo Sandoval was the worst free-agent signing in Red Sox history. The Red Sox are still on the hook for $40-plus million even after releasing the third baseman, who ended up back with his former team in San Francisco.
It should come as no surprise that Sandoval calls the Giants "home." He did so in a new article for the Players Tribune called "Back Where I Belong" that he posted on Monday, one day after he hit his first home run since returning to San Fran. After detailing the "best cry of my life" upon getting called up to the majors from Triple-A Sacramento, apologizing to the Giants for the way he had left after 2014, and giving himself a pat on the back for winning the World Series MVP five years ago, Sandoval got into his immense struggles in Boston.
In doing so, he basically blamed everyone but himself.
Sandoval isn't exactly direct with the blame game he's playing here. You need to read between the lines a bit. But in reading that the third baseman had to "learn a new culture" and that he "tried very much to fit in," it's not hard for those residing in Boston to understand what he's really saying.
In perhaps the most preposterous excuse ever made by a professional athlete, Sandoval pulled the baseball equivalent of telling an interviewer that your biggest weakness is working too hard:
"When I try too much, I struggle. And when you're trying so much to fit in, it's difficult to perform."
Simply incredible. Sandoval batted .237 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs in 161 games - over the span of 2 1/2 seasons - because he tried too hard.
Yet, even in his declarations that he could not fit in, Sandoval insisted he's not blaming anyone in particular for making life in Boston so hard on him:
"At the end of the day, I just never felt comfortable in Boston. It had nothing to do with the organization, or my teammates, or the fans, or the city. Everybody was great to me. I think it was just something that happens sometimes — you don't feel comfortable somewhere, or you don't fit in, even if you're in a place you chose to be.
In Boston, I was lost.
It just never felt like home."
Translation: It had everything to do with everyone.
Riddle me this, Pablo: if everyone in Boston was so great to you then why was it so hard to fit in here? I guess this is how he explains that one:
"And I think that's another reason I struggled so much the last couple of years: Because every day I spent in Boston, my heart was still back in San Francisco."
Amazingly, this article would be more respectable if Sandoval actually ripped the media that jumped at every opportunity to criticize him, the fans that booed him when he couldn't perform, or the organization that had the audacity to expect him to arrive at Spring Training at a healthy weight. In apologizing only to the Giants and being honest with nobody, this amounts to nothing more than unapologetic, insincere, ghostwritten fiction.
In describing the reaction of Giants fans upon his return, Sandoval waits until near the end to deliver the biggest clue of them all that everything he said about Boston was a lie:
"Being wanted was a feeling I had forgotten."
Feeling unwanted in a city where everyone was "so great" sounds like quite a miserable existence. Tough to blame him for that feeling, though; it's hard to feel wanted when the only thing you're satisfying is your appetite. It's hard to be appreciated when you can barely stay on the field, let alone perform adequately when you're active.
Sandoval has batted .240 with a .680 OPS in seven games since returning to the Giants, who are in last place in the NL West at 47-72. He hit his first home run, which was also his first RBI, on Sunday, so perhaps he felt that was enough to run this cringe-worthy victory lap.
It's fitting that the article is a victory lap for no one but himself.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @Dolloff985 and email him at email@example.com.
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