The San Diego Padres came damn close to pulling the hidden ball trick on leading Clown-Show All-Star vote-getter, Pablo Sandoval. The only problem the Padres ran into: pitcher Sean O’Sullivan doesn’t know how things work.

In the fifth inning of last night’s game, Pablo Sandoval hit his 10th double of the year — tying him with the great BJ Upton for 6th worst in the National League, minimum 300 plate appearances — and after waddling into second base, he asked umpire Laz Diaz for time. 180 feet is a long distance for Pablo and his 250 pound frame, so he needed some time to catch his breath.

Apparently, Everth Cabrera opportunistically used this break in the action to pretend he was giving the ball to pitcher Sean O’Sullivan — I say “apparently” because nowhere are we offered footage of what transpired while TV audiences were treated to several replays of Pablo’s 320-foot pop fly. What happened next confused everybody, particularly Pablo Sandoval.

As O’Sullivan stood behind the mound for an extended period of time, Hunter Pence dug in at the plate. Meanwhile, out at second base, Sandoval played with his plethora of armor that he wears while batting. It might have been a stall tactic, employed to ensure maximum recovery time from the aforementioned 180-foot jaunt. When Sandoval finally regained a steady supply of oxygen, he began to wander off the base, looking at something behind him, perhaps an attractive woman in the stands. He certainly was not looking the shortstop or second baseman. Cabrera scampered over to apply the tag, much to the amusement of Diaz, for O’Sullivan was standing atop the mound like an idiot:

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O’Sullivan stands atop the mound like an idiot, while Pablo Sandoval stands like a panda-in-headlights.

The biggest problem with the execution of baseball’s oldest “trick”, seems to be the fact that Pablo had called timeout, causing the ball to be dead until O’Sullivan toed the rubber. Of course, if you toe the rubber without the ball in hand, a balk will be called.

The fact that the Padres had no idea what they were doing is overshadowed by the fact that Pablo Sandoval had no idea what he was doing. He did not even look at O’Sullivan before starting to take a lead off the base. Once he did look at O’Sullivan, he must have noticed O’Sullivan was not standing on the rubber. Still, he continued to take his lead. Why was he taking a lead? Baseball players generally learn when they are 13 years old that you never, under any circumstances, take a lead without the pitcher engaging the rubber. While it is possible that Sandoval is a 250-pound, 12 year-old — and, actually, that would explain a lot — that is not what his birth certificate says, and he should know better.

What did we learn from all this? That even if you are Pablo Sandoval, there are clowns who can be even clown-ier than you. Last night, the San Diego Padres demonstrated that shocking fact to perfection.