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Let Pablo Sandoval poop like everyone else does

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All Pablo Sandoval did was poop exactly the way you poop. It wasn't stupid or "the wrong time." It's simply how we poop in the age of smartphones.

Think about the last time you pooped.

Did you look at your smartphone while you sat on the toilet? Did you scroll through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media feed? If you answered no to both of those questions, then move along to your AARP meeting, Mr. Hifalutin Bookreader. Everyone else: Let's be honest about our smartphone habits in the bathroom.

On Wednesday night, as Pablo Sandoval pooped between at-bats, he pressed the empty heart below two Instagram photos, letting Ms. diva_legacy know that the Venezuelan slugger appreciated the composition of her selfies.

The Internet noticed. The Internet always notices.

His spot thoroughly blown up in "sorry not sorry" fashion, Sandoval was benched the next day for violating MLB's ban on using social media during games. He was duly contrite:

"I know I f---ed up," Sandoval said Thursday. "I made a mistake [Wednesday]. I learned from that. I'm a human being, I made a mistake, so I apologize to my teammates, to the team, to the organization, the fans support.

"This is a thing that I pushed the ['like'] button at the wrong time. I hit a 'like.' I was in the bathroom, I pushed it at the wrong time. ... I just grabbed my phone and checked it." [ESPN]

"The wrong time." "Stupid." "... should know better." These are the phrases you'll see pop up as fans and media scold Sandoval for his perceived affront to ... what, exactly? The sanctity of the game? MLB's archaic policy that counts MySpace in its list of social media? "Why, Sandoval should have been studying his previous at-bats to better prepare for his next one! His attention to the game mustn't waver, even as he defecates!"

Spare me the bullshit. Everybody poops, and everyone with a smartphone uses social media as they do it.

Here. Watch this. I'm at work. And I'm going to take a shit, right now, mid-column.

Instagram

Yeah, that's right: I liked those photos while pooping.* And you know what? It's not a big deal. I read Twitter on the can, and I scroll through my Instagram feed, and sometimes I wonder what might be on Facebook had I not deleted it from my phone, because I am a discerning Internet tastemaker. As I poop, I retweet things that I enjoy or endorse, and I hit "like" on almost every photo from the Department of the Interior's feed, because America's public lands deserve my support whether or not I'm sitting on a toilet.

*I was going to like the same photos that Sandoval did as a sign of solidarity, but I'm married and thus have a highly developed sense of self-preservation. I know that liked photos show up in my followers' activity feeds, which is why the ninja creep move is to comment on, not like, sexy photos.

And look: this column continues apace. I washed my hands, came back to my desk, and resumed typing. I will get no censure from my employer, just as you wouldn't if you did the same.

★★★

Baseball is a sport defined largely by its central paradox: The relentless schedule is filled with games that are, in turn, filled with huge swaths of downtime. Whether you find this to be a never-ending deluge of boredom or the centerpiece of a languorous summer depends on your tastes; regardless, those gaps in action -- and the need for players to stay entertained and engaged -- provide much of baseball's charm: pies in the face, shoelaces set on fire, and a museum's worth of quirks and superstitions.

Which is to say: The players understand that not every moment of every game requires their full attention, and we typically celebrate that attitude. If baseball has the downtime to allow a player to poop, it can allow for modern pooping convention.

Pablo Sandoval did nothing wrong. When he went to the bathroom Wednesday night, his next at-bat was five batters away, and he wasn't due in the field for three more outs. The two taps of a screen didn't disturb his 1-for-3 night, and they didn't affect a last-place team's 5-2 loss in mid-June. He went to the bathroom and made a semi-public endorsement of two photos of a woman he presumably finds attractive.

The only person who could reasonably be upset by that is his wife, and Sandoval's not married.