Giants fans are a pretty loyal bunch and probably not a single one was happy to see Pablo Sandoval, aka Panda, leave the Bay Area for Boston. However, leave he did and one Red Sox scout heard the fan displeasure in his hometown church, which just happens to be in California.
According to a story by ESPN Boston, Red Sox scout Gary Hughes goes to Resurrection Catholic Community in Aptos, which is in northern California, prime Giants territory.
Hughes said that the parish priest, Father Ron Shirley, knew that he worked for the Sox and was somewhat unhappy to learn that the Sox were targeting Panda in the MLB offseason. He even told Hughes he needed to go to confession...for stealing. Or, trying to steal at that point in time.
Then Panda did sign with the Red Sox and Hughes attended mass at his church on Ash Wednesday. Father Ron informed the congregation that Hughes was in attendance and that it was his fault that Panda signed with the Sox. More than a little bit of a stretch, as the decision obviously occurred well above Hughes' station. That sort of thing is lost on sports fans though, and the congregation immediately booed him.
Hughes said a child turned to him after and whispered that he too was a Red Sox fan.
Don't get the wrong idea though, Hughes and Father Ron reportedly have a great relationship and the priest was just having a bit of fun with Hughes.
This story is pretty funny for a few reasons.
One is that it proves baseball isn't entirely dead yet. If an entire congregation can be motivated to boo an opposing team's scout for supposedly signing away a beloved player, obviously enough people there were Giants fans and at least knew who Panda was. Second, it's an amusing reminder that once upon a time, entire congregations could be motivated to go out with pitchforks and torches for that kind of thing.
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