In an already boisterous clubhouse, where the passage of time was marked by flying corks and empty bottles, Pablo Sandoval finally pushed his way through the doorway to join the party.
At first there was no room to move. Sandoval simply raised the World Series MVP trophy over his head and let out a happy yell.
The room cheered anew. Make way for the Panda.
"I couldn't be happier or prouder for him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of his third baseman. "He really wanted, I think, to shine on this stage."
Sandoval joined Sunday's celebration late because of the responsibilities that come with winning the MVP award. For one, he had to collect the keys to his new Corvette (which he planned to give to his fiancee.)
For another, Sandoval also had to do several interviews in which he tried to put into words what this October was like.
One last time, he hit it out of the park: "I was ready for the moment," he said.
Sandoval was ready, despite all that fretting that he wouldn't be. Questions about his eating habits. Doubts about his commitment. Jokes about his weight.
Instead, he wound up as one of the heaviest hitters the World Series has ever seen.
"He got hot at the right time for us," Bochy said.
World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval silences the critics
San Jose Mercury News | Oct 30