If we've learned anything about San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval lo these many years, it's that Kung Fu Panda has remarkable footwork for someone his size. Conversely, you can't spell awkward without Hunter Pence. So what happens when these divergent archetypes get together for a little dugout tango?
It's like seeing "Dirty Dancing" all over again for the very first time.
As Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper notes, Sandoval has "a little different deal" with everyone in the dugout before a game starts. The ritual changes slightly depending on whom Sandoval encounters. When he got to Pence, they did a multi-movement, hand-gesture slap thing, which quickly transitioned into a salsa-laced dance routine, complete with spins. Panda definitely led, because Pence was his partner and, yeah, but each twirled the other at one point before they released their embrace and ended their dance.
What made Brett Pill worth a brief hand slap and Pence worth dancing with? Pence, it was learned by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, was claimed off waivers and then pulled back by the Giants. So were teammates Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez. Yay, they get to stay.
As Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News explains, waivers happen to most players:
Nearly every MLB player goes through waivers in August, but players are rarely moved [to another team]. Heyman reported that the three Giants would not be dealt to the teams that put in the waiver claims. Teams often put in waiver claims to block players from potentially going to other clubs. The Giants used the tactic in 2010 to keep Cody Ross from the San Diego Padres and ended up with a surprise contributor.
The Giants players will be free agents at the end of the season, but GM Brian Sabean says he wants to re-sign all three of them. Hence, the happy dancing, obviously.
Lincecum did not get to dance with the Panda at Coors Field, but there might be time for a boogie in the long run:
"This organization and what it represents, it has a lot of familiarity with me, as well as the fan base," Lincecum said. "That's been without saying for the past seven years, and that will definitely play into my decision when that time comes."
He means the dugout dancing. It's the truth. And he owes it all to you, Panda.