A Whole Lotta Love
The rest of the world is recognizing what you have known since spring training: There’s something special about this Giants team.
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A lot of media attention has gone to Pablo Sandoval, and for good reason. He is so different from any professional athlete I’ve known. He is, for want of a better word, authentic. He is so himself. There is not a whiff of artifice. And he hasn’t changed a bit since his ascension as a media darling. He’s friendly to everyone, and he takes nothing for granted. He carries himself as if he still can’t quite believe he’s in the major leagues.
When I chatted with him in the Giants parking lot before the team left for Houston on Sunday, his wife and mother were there, and his daughter was asleep in her grandmother’s arms. I have to tell you – she is Kung Fu Panda Mini-Me. She looks so much like Pablo – the chubby cheeks, the curly hair, the mocha skin. Pablo lights up when he looks at her – as if, like his baseball life, he can’t quite believe how lucky he is.
I’ve been away from the ballpark for most of the month, but I’ve spent some time in Norwich, CT, where the Giants’ Double-A team, the Defenders, play. That team is loaded with prospects, as you know. I talked at length to Madison Bumgarner, who not only is a phenomenal pitcher but a character right out of a movie. He’s tall and lean and speaks with a gorgeous Southern drawl. He hunts bear and ropes cattle and lives in a town so small “you wave at everybody you see pretty much.”
He’s also fiercely competitive. Earlier this season, when Boston’s top draft pick was taking a little too long to get settled in the batter’s box, Bumgarner fired a pitch high and up, dropping the kid to his knees.
Not sure when he’ll make the big club, but he’ll fit right in when he does.
For more comments from local and national baseball writers and other members of the baseball community about the Giants, visit the “In the News” page on sfgiants.com: