SAN FRANCISCO -- The congratulatory telegram is a historical relic. When Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete last summer, President Obama congratulated him via Twitter.
On Wednesday, when Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants became the fourth player ever to hit three home runs in a World Series game, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tweeted his congratulations.
Sandoval said he got 300 text messages. He cherished this spotlight on his home country, and on its baseball success this season.
“Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, myself hitting three homers in the World Series,” Sandoval said. “It’s a big deal. The president sent me a tweet yesterday. I still can’t believe it.”
Sandoval and Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers’ apparent most valuable player-in-waiting, are two of the nine Venezuelans in this World Series. Marco Scutaro, the MVP of the National League Championship Series, also hails from Venezuela.
Of the 50 players on both teams, 20 are foreign-born, breaking the previous record of 16. The countries represented, in addition to the United States and Venezuela: the Dominican Republic (nine players) and Puerto Rico (two).