Sandoval leads Venezuelan team to victory
Just three months after becoming the first Venezuelan to win the
World Series MVP award, Pablo Sandoval is celebrating a new feat –
the championship win of his team in Venezuela’s professional
The 26-year-old slugger helped lead his team, the Navegantes del
Magallanes, to an 11-9 win on Wednesday night in the final game of
the championship series over the Cardenales.
Sandoval hit one homerun and two doubles, and had two RBIs. He
was selected most valuable player for the series, and his team won
its first title since 2002 in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball
Sandoval said afterward while celebrating that it was an
experience to remember, right up there with October’s World Series
win with the San Francisco Giants.
”There’s nothing like being champion here in Venezuela with the
Navegantes. Although it can’t be compared with winning the World
Series, because they’re different things. But it’s very special to
be champion here,” Sandoval told reporters.
Sandoval batted .300 with three home runs and nine RBIs in the
series. Sandoval’s team will go on to represent Venezuela in the
upcoming Caribbean Series in Hermosillo, Mexico.
He said it had been worth the effort of securing permission from
the Giants to play in Venezuela. Sandoval and other major leaguers
often come home to play in the offseason, even though their
better-paying U.S. teams frequently discourage it because of the
chance of injury.
Sandoval said the Navegantes’ loss in 2010 in the championship
had been like a ”little thorn” irritating him for the past three
years. In that series, Sandoval didn’t want to miss the seventh and
decisive game, and he flew in at the last minute, rushing by
helicopter from Caracas to the city of Valencia. He got a hit, but
his team still lost 7-2 to the rival Caracas Leones.
”This time I did everything I could so that the Giants would
let me play, to take this team to the title. It’s a dream come
true,” Sandoval said. ”Being champions with the Magallanes and
with the Giants the same year is something very special. I feel
very happy to have contributed and to have been selected as