Following the recent playoff series between the beloved Charlotte Knights and the Calgary Mavericks, a large mass of North Carolinians have signed a petition to ban pandas from the state. This comes from the masterful performance of Pablo ‘Panda’ Sandoval, the 33-year-old third baseman for the Mavericks. Despite a mediocre regular season, Panda was spectacular in the postseason, starting off with a simple 1-2 day, but had a home run, the first run for his team. The next game he again started the scoring, providing another home run in a 2-1 victory, going 1-3 on the day. Game 3 was when he really killed the Knights, in Charlotte no less. In the 8th inning he hit a double, scoring the tying run, then in the 13th he crushed a triple to plate the winning run, putting Calgary up 3-0. While he returned to hibernation for game 4, the damage was done, and Calgary was able to sweep the series, sending themselves to their team back to the Premier Cup, their third time in the six years of the league.
Sandoval is slated to be a free agent after next season, but could become one this season if the Mavericks decline his player option. Although his switch hitting bat, and that he can back up Miguel Sano would both be useful, Knights general manager Matt Wells has said “There is no way, even if he paid us, that we would ever allow Sandoval to be apart of our team. Despite being a known postseason player, and a great teammate, we do not want a player that has hurt us so much in the past. We do not subscribe to the theory of buying out players that beat you. We prefer to adapt, retool and shove it back in their face the next time we face them. With that being said, Calgary, watch your backs next season as we are not accepting anything less than a pennant win.”Several hundred people went to the North Carolina Zoo and stood in front of the giant panda exhibit, effectively blocking the zoo-goers from seeing the creature. They also had a booth where they tried getting people to sign up, offering a free spin at a prize wheel, where they could win anything from free tickets to a Knights game, to game worn, signed jerseys from some of the players. Several of the pitchers, including Ruben Alaniz, Jake Odorizzi and Luis Avilan, that Sandoval hit during the series came to the event to beg people to ban pandas from North Carolina.
The petition has amassed 784,317 signatures, and will be submitted to the state Senate next session. Word is out that the Governor is in support, and the Knights have publicly stated that any Senator that votes to pass the bill will be brought out to a game, given a luxury suite for the day, and be asked to throw out the first pitch. The vote for the bill is expected to be on November 8th, and if passed, could take effect immediately.