Pablo Sandoval And The #FATCHAT Problem

If you’ve ever fired up the Twitter machine within the last few months to check out what the Giants fanbase is saying, you’ll likely have seen a prevalent theme in a lot of tweets: Pablo Sandoval’s weight.

Cries of “he’s too fat to play baseball” usually are the first thing seen when you check in on what Giants fans and media have to say.

Here's some annoying commentary from San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ann Killion.

Here’s some annoying commentary from San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ann Killion.

Sometimes, it comes from writers of other teams, too.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch spews some offensive and unwarranted venom toward Sandoval's way.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch spews some offensive and unwarranted venom toward Sandoval’s way.

Backhanded compliments, playground bullying, it’s all there. None of it is okay.

To say that Sandoval is “overweight” is purely subjective because, honestly, for however fat you think he is, he won the World Series MVP award at a weight that might not be considered “athletic.” He makes slick defensive plays and can rake with the best of them.

Sandoval’s baseball abilities are there because he can play the game.

Wait, what is this concept? Is it … logic? You mean to tell me that one’s weight does not have correlation to how athletic a person is?!


This is where fat shaming culture kicks in.

To fat shame is to tell someone that they are not worthy of X or Y because of their weight. Jokes are made at their expense because if you’re fat, society says you’re not their ideal person to look at. Nothing about your personality or intelligence or — yes — baseball abilities are considered because why would you (general you) even consider that when you’re talking about someone who’s fat, fat, fat.

A common misconception is that if you’re fat, it must men you love to eat. That’s not true. There are so many different factors that can contribute to one’s weight, such as a slow metabolism.

Do we know if Sandoval has a slow metabolism or X or Y or Z that may cause him to be at this weight? Not really. Is it any of our business? Not at all.

Because society and the images in the media project this unrealistic image of people — women have flat stomachs and big breasts while men have sculpted muscles — the every person is subjected to have feelings of superficial inadequacy. Which is not right at all.

By taunting someone about their weight or only looking at a person because of their weight, you (again, general you) are dehumanizing them. Yes, that’s right — that means you are only looking at a person as if they are an object, which is the way society implies a person should act. Because if this, there’s no respect being shown. This person, for whatever weight they are, is not being treated like a human being.

Pablo Sandoval is a good baseball player, regardless of what you think of his weight.

If Sandoval, or anyone really, wants to be fit and in shape for their own personal reasons and it’s something that will make them feel better, then it’s their reasons and it’s not for anyone else to judge. If a medical professional or a trainer with the Giants or someone who has the knowledge in this capacity suggests Sandoval lose weight for his health, then it’s Sandoval’s call.

Would you enjoy it if you walk onto your porch to get some fresh air and people started shouting at you, “Hey! What are you doing breathing air! You love air too much! Get rid of that! Stop it!”?

No. No one would enjoy that. It’s the same with weight.

If Sandoval or anyone else doesn’t want to lose weight because it’s what they want, then no one is in any position to judge because it’s not their life to live.

You may think that you’re well meaning and that you’re only there to help, but it’s not necessarily the best course of action for that person. Everyone’s bodies works in different ways and no two bodies work the same way, just as no two people have the exact same opinions on anything. No one knows their bodies better than the people with those bodies.

Unless you’re a medical professional or a trainer who is concerned about your health (health does not necessarily equal weight!), then it makes sense because they should be trained to watch out for these things and properly diagnose what’s going on in your body.

And if Sandoval is playing well, what’s it to a fan who wants to see their team win? If a person thinks the Giants can improve by having Sandoval lose weight when his playing ability is not necessarily of concern, then it’s not a problem with Sandoval and a reflection on a person’s view of bodies and whether or not this person is subscribing to an altered view of reality.

In short, a person is not to blame for their body image. Repeat after me: A person is not to blame for their body image.


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