Monday, August 10, 2009

Sports Illustrated Pablo Sandoval and Mpho 'Gift' Ngoepe Pieces

Couple of very cool baseball profiles from the latest Sports Illustrated.

The first was written by the ever more frequent writer of great SI pieces, Lee Jenkins, and chronicles the San Francisco Giants fun-loving and from the heels swinging 3rd baseman. The profile on Pablo Sandoval reveals a guy who is easy to root for and becoming more and more the face of a franchise (at least the hitting face) whose visage was much more of a scowl in recent years.

The second story is very similar in showing someone who loves the game of baseball, but different in that it portrays a guy with a long way to go to equal Sandoval's success. Mpho 'Gift' Ngoepe is a 19 year old infield prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates lower minors... and attempting to become the first MLB player from Africa. The profile on him is written by SI Senior Writer Gary Smith and combines excellent writing with a compelling story.

The overriding feeling I had from reading this is hope that Gift is able to make it. As the S.L. Price book "Heart of the Game: Life, Death, and Mercy in the Minor League America" (which I reviewed in this blog post) details, minor league baseball is a tough road to glory and riches.