Motivation can come in many different forms. For example, in the case of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval on Wednesday night, the motivation came from teammate Brandon Crawford, who playfully teased Sandoval after his own third inning home run brought him to within one homer of Sandoval's season total of ten.
Sandoval's verbal response to Crawford's jab, according to Andrew Baggerly of the San Francisco Chronicle, was simple and to the point.
"Just wait," was all Sandoval said.
As we all know, it's actions that speak louder than words, and Sandoval's on field response was very loud, very clear and very forceful. Sandoval may be having a down year in the power department — he's only hit one since the All-Star break — but he let everyone in both dugouts know that he can still produce at an All-Star level by connecting for a home run in each of his final three plate appearances during San Francisco's 13-5 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The first came in the fifth inning, a two-run shot off Brad Brach in the fifth inning. He then following with a solo homer off Brad Boxberger in the eighth. And the grand finale, which the Giants certainly didn't need it but glady took, was a three-run blast off Dale Thayer in the ninth.
For Sandoval, it was his first regular season three home run game, but it was his second at the major league level. If you recall, Sandoval also hit three at the absolute best time for San Francisco last season, which was Game 1 of World Series.
That night last October obviously put Sandoval in some elite postseason company — along with Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols — but his follow up performance actually created some history and put Sandoval's name in a class of its own. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Sandoval became the first reigning World Series MVP to have a three homer game the following season. That award dates back to 1955, so there has been plenty of opportunity for someone else to establish that mark.
And just in case you're wondering, Sandoval says he truly was motivated by Crawford's comments.
"He got me fired [up] a little bit," Sandoval told MLB.com. "We were sitting down; he asked me how many home runs I got. I say, 10, and he was like, I've got nine, I've got your back."
Crawford was only on his back temporarily. Now he'll has some serious work to do if he plans on catching to Sandoval again, and my guess is he'll be lucky to stay within four for another day. If Sandoval gets locked in and stays there over the final three weeks, his home run total will rise and rise quickly.