Looking through my email this evening, I found the following press release from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America stuck in the spam folder. I can’t seem to find the news anywhere else online, so I thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s some pretty big news, after all.
For Immediate Release
November 9, 2010
BBWAA Names Pablo Sandoval as Inaugural Winner of “Commitment to Fitness Award”
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America is happy to announce today that San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been voted by the member writers as the inaugural winner of the Commitment to Fitness Award. With childhood obesity becoming a bigger and bigger health problem every year, the Baseball Writers’ felt it was important to honor the players on the field who best exemplify the commitment to fitness that professional baseball – and a healthy adulthood – requires. The award was voted on by sixty members across the league.
Pablo Sandoval had an amazing rookie season in 2009, batting .330 and slugging 25 home runs with 90 RBIs for the San Francisco Giants. In the offseason, Sandoval attended the much publicized “Camp Panda”, so named after his popular nickname “Kung-Fu Panda”. Camp Panda was a strict, regimented workout regime Sandoval committed to during the winter months of 2010. It was spoken about far-and-wide in the baseball world, giving kids who look up to baseball heroes a positive example. When Sandoval showed up to Spring Training looking better than ever, it secured Camp Panda as one of the best influences on America’s youth that Major League Baseball has to offer. With this award, Sandoval can take great pride in what he managed to accomplish in the winter of 2010.
As with all BBWAA awards, the “Commitment to Fitness Award” was voted on by two writers representing each Major League club. Writers are instructed to vote on which players have done the most to encourage fitness as role models. Each ballot allows for three names, with first place selectees receiving five-points, second place selectees receiving three points, and third place selectees receiving one point. Whoever ends up the voting with the highest point totals wins the award. For this inaugural season, Sandoval finished with 232 points, Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, a renowned vegetarian, finished in second place with 224 points and Albert Pujols, the slugging first baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals, finished a distant third with 54 points.
See what I mean? That’s some important news. I can’t believe it skipped so many people’s radars. Just shocking. Congratulations to Panda, though. He certainly deserved it. (And it’s nice to see Prince get the honorable mention!!)
UPDATE: When reached for comment, Derek Jeter said “Good for Pablo. The guy worked hard all winter. You pretty much couldn’t read a paper in March that didn’t mention Camp Panda. He definitely deserves this award.”