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.
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