In the middle of a lengthy conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez on Instagram Live, Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval was asked if his children know his nickname. He smiled and called over his young son, who started chanting "Panda!"
Pablo Sandoval has been the Kung Fu Panda -- or Panda -- for over a decade. Most Giants fans know the story. Barry Zito gave the nickname to the energetic young catcher when he was called up in 2008 and the organization ran with it, using the nickname in marketing campaigns and on merchandise. "The Panda" became well known at Oracle Park.
But ... it turns out there's more to the story.
On Gutierrez's Wine Wednesday Instagram series, Sandoval revealed that another Giants veteran might actually be due just as much credit for the famous nickname. Sandoval said Zito and former infielder Rich Aurilia are jointly responsible.
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"I thank Rich Aurilia," he said, "Because he got me good on that one."
Aurilia later joined Gutierrez and confirmed that he had a big hand in the creation of the "Kung Fu Panda."
"I've never made it public or never said anything, but we were playing in LA (in 2008), we were playing a day game and he rounded third and I was standing next to Zito and Matt Cain on the rail at Dodger Stadium," Aurilia said. "He rounded third and got towards the catcher and the ball was coming at the same time. He jumped over -- it looked like slow motion -- he jumped over the catcher, twisted his body, missed the tag, and he got his hand in to touch the plate.
"I was like, 'Holy cow!' My boys were eight and six, so I was totally into all these movies. I said, 'Look at the Kung Fu Panda over there, look at him go, look at how agile the Kung Fu Panda is.'"
As Aurilia remembers it, Zito immediately used the nickname in an interview and it stuck.
"For all of these years I haven't said a word about this," Aurilia said. "I'm shocked that Pablo knew that. I'm shocked he knew the whole thing and how it came down."
Maybe it shouldn't be that big of a surprise. Sandoval counts Aurilia, who played for the Giants for a dozen years -- two with Sandoval -- as one of the veterans who helped him the most early in his career.
"I always give the credit," Sandoval said of Aurilia. "(He was) one of the greatest mentors for me, especially when I was moving from catcher to third. He taught me a lot of things about how to play the game and how to move at third base. He did a great job."