Pablo Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda,” has left the San Francisco Giants for wealthier days with the Boston Red Sox, leaving his faithful fans with no choice but to put away their panda heads.
Michael Jessen and Sam Li are two of the season-ticket holders who sat along the third-base line wearing the heads. The two fans met while attending the University of California in Berkeley and said eight others have taken turns with them going to the games and wearing the headgear.
“We could not believe how much more fun those little somethings -- the panda heads -- brought to every San Franciscan’s life,” Li said in an email to the Associated Press. “For that, we felt the best. We have stuck those heads out of our car windows after games, and every single San Franciscan on the street brought a wide grin and joy.
“It is only a very small something, not more than say bringing a jacket to a game, but it touches so many people on so many levels, and in a lot of cases, changes people’s life. It is wonderful.”
Li said he would donate at least one of the panda heads to the team with the hope that it will be placed in the clubhouse or somewhere at AT&T Park to recognize Sandoval’s contributions to the team, which has won World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and this past season.
Sandoval, a switch-hitting third baseman, was the World Series MVP in 2012 and in this last postseason contributed a record 26 hits in the playoffs. He has a .426 batting average in 12 World Series games. Sandoval became a free agent this off-season and accepted a five-year, $95-million contract with the Red Sox.
Li, whose favorite player is Buster Posey, did not know what was next.
“We will not cheer for any other player than in Giants’ jerseys,” Li told AP. “We will have to find something else to bring that dimension back to the game.”