Results tagged ‘ Pablo Sandoval ’

A New Home, and a New Approach

The two big headlines for me since I last blogged:

We moved from Venezuela to Miami, and for the first time in 11 years I didn’t play winter ball.

 My wife and I bought a house in Miami last year with the money we earned from the World Series. If you’ve been watching the news, Venezuela isn’t a very safe place to be. It hasn’t been a safe place for a long time. I was there from Dec. 20 to Jan. 10 – 20 days – and personally witnessed three robberies. Everybody has been the victim of at least one crime.

Mine happened when I was 16. I was kidnapped for four hours with a gun to my head.

I had just signed a professional contract, and my mother bought me a car as a congratulations gift. I drove to the beach with my girlfriend. We stopped at KFC on the way back. When we were pulling out of the parking lot, a car hit us from behind. The driver told me we should exchange our insurance information somewhere else, so I followed him. I was just a teenager and didn’t suspect anything.

Then all of a sudden I see one guy over there, another guy here, and before I knew what was happening, they grabbed my girlfriend and me and forced us into the other car. They held a gun to my head while I called my mom and told her she had to pay $1,000 in ransom. I have since learned that the kidnappers don’t ask for a lot because they do this so often. They didn’t even try to hide their faces. That’s how sure they were that the police wouldn’t do anything.

My mom dropped the money where they told her then called to say it was done. They must have watched her because they let us go as soon as she called. I never saw my car again. The kidnappers were never caught.

Marco Scutaro told me his car was stolen once, and when the thieves found out it was his, they called him and returned it. Marco lives in Miami now. So does Pablo. When we were looking at the house we ended up buying, I asked the realtor about our potential neighbors in the gated community. She said about 95 percent of the homeowners were Venezuelan. Everyone wants a safer place for their families. I wish my dad and the rest of my family would move to Miami, but so far they want to stay with their friends and in the community they’ve known all their lives.

I’m so glad I didn’t play winter ball. The Giants pointed out that I had been playing baseball 11 years straight without a stop. My body needed a break. And some of my teammates – Hunter, Marco, Pablo, Buster – told me I’d have more endurance if I got stronger. They knew I was dragging sometimes as the season wore on.

So instead of playing winter ball, I worked six days a week with a trainer and changed the way I ate. I ate salads (no dressing, just lime and sea salt), vegetables and good fish (mahi-mahi and salmon) with no oil. In January I began introducing some carbohydrates back into my diet.The important thing is that now I look at food as fuel.

 

 

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From October 28 to the beginning of February, I didn’t swing a bat or throw a ball. That was hard. Baseball is such a part of me. Sometimes I’d go into the garage and hold a bat just because I missed it so much. But I think it was the right thing: I feel stronger, fresher and healthier than at any time in my life. I’m more explosive. My bat is faster. My legs are stronger. It’s exciting. And it’s fantastic to be back on the field.

Thanks for reading. Can’t wait to get back to SF and see everybody!

Sharing With My Brother

My dad can’t make it back from Venezuela for the playoffs – my first in the major leagues. But my 31-year-old brother Edward is here. I call him my brother because he grew up in my house. He’s actually my cousin. My uncle couldn’t raise him so my mother took him in, and we’ve been like brothers ever since. I love him. He hadn’t taken a vacation from his job for five years, so his boss told him to go visit me and see the San Francisco Giants. He arrived three weeks ago – his first visit to the United States. He’s been having a great time in San Francisco. He can’t believe how beautiful it is. I’m so happy he can be here, especially for this weekend. He never played baseball himself, but he loves it.

Pablo and Marco Scutaro have talked to me a little bit about what the playoffs are like. They told me things change in the playoffs – every single pitch counts, nobody’s thinking about their own numbers, all that matters is figuring out how to win. But at the same time, you have to keep doing what you’ve done all season. Not put more pressure on yourself. I’ve played in championship games back home. We had 20,000 people in the stadium instead of 40,000 like here. But the 20,000 are really, really loud. So I think I have at least some sense of what it will be like.

I don’t know when I’ll be playing. But I’m ready. I’m glad we have practice this afternoon so we can all be together and have our usual routines. This team has a great combination of energy and calm. I can’t imagine anything rattling anyone. I’m really thankful to be a part of it, and to have my wife, son and brother here at the park sharing it with me.

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