Andrew Baggarly of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS was recently kind enough to forward us this email from Bay Area News Group photographer Karl Mondon as he recounted a thrilling experience while shooting the Giants opener on April 9:
In the bottom of the 12th inning Friday, with Eli Whiteside at the plate and Pablo Sandoval dancing off 3rd base with the possible winning run, it hit me.
Panda’s athletic cup.
In the head.
In 25 years of photographing baseball, that was the first, and please, last time that’s ever happened.
Translation: Mondon, positioned in the photographer’s bay just beyond the third base dugout, was plunked in the head by Pablo Sandoval’s cup after it was thrown in his direction by the Giants third baseman.
(”His precautionary goblet was already out of his pants” - too soon?)
I’m also happy to report Baggarly, dutiful beat journo that he is, followed up with Sandoval about it.
Karl’s story has been verified. Sandoval admitted to it, although he says he wasn’t trying to hit anyone. Turns out the cup isn’t as aerodynamically predictable as a baseball. Now he knows.
I also confirmed the account with (Giants Trainer Dave) Groeschner — even the part about scooping up the Panda’s nutty buddy in a hygienic way with a fielder’s glove
Congrats to Craig at NBCSports.com. That “Pablo Sandoval’s Flying Cup” Google Alert finally came through.