Miller

Miguel Sano Overcame Death of Child, Suicidal Thoughts to Reach MLB Superstardom

But the very best thing this summer is found in Sano's own nest, where bright smiles have replaced anguish and tears, where son Dylan Miguel, just 10 months old, is living proof of the gifts each new sunrise can deliver. You see, it was bad enough in the spring of 2014 when Sano's elbow popped as he was throwing from third base, making him the rare position player to lose a season to Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. But early that December his first child, Angelica, died of a heart defect one week after her birth in the Dominican Republic.
Miller

Charlie Blackmon's Trash 2004 Jeep Just One Layer of MLB's Quirkiest Superstar

Charles Cobb Blackmon, 31, Rockies leadoff man, hitting savant and all-around goofball, sees things that others do not. His mind works in ways that others do not. He knows this. "Yeah, I do some weird stuff," he says. This is not breaking news to any of his Colorado Rockies teammates. "He's not being funny," outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says. "He's just being Charlie. That's just the way he is. He's a great player and a great teammate."
S. Miller

Who's Your Daddy? Pedro Martinez Jr. Making Own Fame as Teen Hitting Star

Who can be patient at 16? A slugging third baseman in the International Prospect League in the Dominican Republic, Martinez Jr. has been playing baseball since he took his first steps. He drinks it in as if the game is liquid and he is the thirstiest man on earth. And still, he cannot get enough. He catapults from one drill to the next as if all of this hustle and bustle will bring tomorrow today.
S. Miller

Kung Fu Panda's Last Stand

It is shortly after noon, field work done, weight room on deck, when Sandoval stops for a short break and considers the question: In a season full of them, what was your lowest moment last year? The absolute worst point? The big smile disappears from his face. The light melts out of his eyes. “Everything,” he says. “Every moment.” It is not easy to climb inside the mind of the Panda. His factory settings are more instigation than introspection. He is two-parts mirth, one-part myth. Generally, Panda doesn’t ponder.
S. Miller

Jose Fernandez's Joy, Passion Create Lasting Memories on Tragic Day

This is American Dream stuff—the best of our cultural melting pot, the part where it was supposed to be smooth sailing for Fernandez from here on out. Instead, a young life was extinguished far too soon. And at the most exciting time of the baseball year, with just a week's worth of drama and cheers left before the calendar turns to October and the volume cranks even higher, the games have been interrupted, and we will pause for a wrenching moment of silence.
S. Miller

Near-Fatal Swing Haunts McCann but Made Accidental Victim an Inspiration

This story ends well, but it doesn't start that way. It begins with a baseball lifer in his first spring with the Atlanta Braves organization, standing on the top dugout step, leaning against the railing. He is jawing with several players early in the game. Outfielder Nate McLouth is on his right, the side closest to right field in Atlanta's first base dugout. Which is why the coach is glancing away from the plate at the exact split-second when the baseball comes calling. "I thought he was dead," Atlanta's Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox says. "I was in a booth upstairs, and I saw him go down and he wasn't moving. There was blood everywhere.
S. Miller

Strasburg's Father-Son Bond with Tony Gwynn Made Him an MLB Star

The Master looked out at The Pupil. It was autumn, 2006, the first days of fall practice, and the incoming freshman class was finding its way, as ever, maturity not always matching exuberance. So there was work to be done. A lot of work. What The Master saw as he scanned the horizon and focused on one freshman in particular was not future riches and stardom. Instead, what he noted was baby fat to be melted. Toughness to be instilled. What he saw was a lost ball in tall weeds.
S. Miller

Confessions of a Steroid Pioneer: My Dinner with Lenny Dykstra

"This is going to be awesome, bro," the man with no front teeth—upper or lower—tells me.Steak, medium-rare, sizzles on the platter. Sauteed mushrooms beckon from their bowl. Loaded baked potatoes are floating nearby like a couple of delicious, cumulus clouds.We have come to meet and dine after three months of working through the details. Lenny Dykstra has finished his book, House of Nails, now set for publication June 28. I am home from spring training.
S. Miller

Brewers' David Denson Hopes Coming Out Paves Way to Achieving MLB Dream

Six months after knocking ignorance and intolerance out of the park, Milwaukee minor league slugger David Denson hops out of his father's white Dodge Charger in a parking lot here and smiles broadly. Behind him are the shadows from which he emerged to declare himself to the world, finally brave and comfortable enough in his own skin to do something that no other active, affiliated professional baseball player ever has dared.