By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — One of Pablo Sandoval’s former personal trainers spoke out against the Red Sox third baseman, pulling no punches and intensifying what’s already becoming an unfortunate and pitiless smear campaign against a player who appears on his way out of Boston.
The money owed to him? That will probably stay on Boston’s books, if Sandoval is traded. But that’s another story. Ethan Banning was Sandoval’s personal trainer when he oversaw two “intense pound-shedding winters” in 2011 and 2012, after off-seasons in which he gained weight to the point that Banning “did everything possible to keep the third baseman out of sight from his team,” according to the Boston Herald.
As far as the Red Sox’s situation with Sandoval, Banning says the solution is simple: Sandoval needs someone at his side for all facets of training and nutrition, monitoring his weight and – most importantly – controlling his diet.
“You need the babysitter,” Banning told the Herald. “Hey, that’s a pretty harsh statement. At the end of the day, I’m speaking truth. … I love the guy.”
Banning loves Sandoval so much, he compared his eating problem to an addiction on par with alcoholism.
“I care about him greatly,” he said. “But it’s a tough love. He needs to be smart enough to say there’s a problem. It’s like the alcoholic that won’t admit he’s an alcoholic: well, you can’t address that you’re an alcoholic if you don’t ever admit there’s a problem. He’s got to address that.”
Alcoholic comparisons aside, and regardless of the true gravity of Sandoval’s situation, it’s true that he needs to admit he has some kind of problem in order for this now-clearly chronic issue to get any better. Banning told the Herald he has not spoken to the Red Sox, yet the team appears to have heeded Banning’s advice: Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the team has hired a nutritionist to work with Sandoval and the training staff.
Banning also detailed the methods he and Sandoval used to conceal how much weight he had gained: “I would go pick him up at a random location, drive him to the facility so that his car wouldn’t be there, so if they dropped in they wouldn’t know he was there. … So for about a three-week period, he had the flu — we had every excuse in the world. We were just trying to rip weight off him again. And it ballooned way out of control.”
The fact that Sandoval needs the amount of monitoring and care to control his weight and diet that he has received in the first place, in his ninth Major League season, is undoubtedly a massive concern. Still, the stories beginning emerging in the wake of Sandoval’s peculiar DL stint do not look good. It’s becoming more apparent every day that Sandoval may have played his last game in a Red Sox uniform, and his issues may not be just professional, but personal.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.