A continent apart, Sandoval, Zito receive kudos

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

On one day, the San Francisco Giants had two big winners -- two players who were instrumental in the 2012 postseason but no-shows in the 2010 postseason.
In Caracas, Pablo Sandoval was receiving an MVP award for leading his team, the Navegantes del Magallanes, to the championship of the Venezuelan series with a homer and two doubles.
In Seattle, Barry Zito was receiving the 48th Hutch Award, given to a player who "exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication" of Seattle native Fred Hutchinson, who played and managed in the majors.
Sandoval: "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."
Zito: "I feel so blessed and honored to be receiving any award, because a lot of people gave up on me. This is the cap of it all here after this great offseason. To be honored here is just so humbling."
So Sandoval has back-to-back MVPs, including his World Series MVP, and Zito was honored again for his humanitarian work.
These are two players who contributed heavily to the Giants' run to the title. Zito won Game 5 of the NL Championship Series in St. Louis when the Giants were down 3-1 in the best-of-seven set. It was the first of seven straight San Francisco victories. And, of course, Sandoval's three-homer game in the World Series opener provided momentum for a sweep over the Detroit Tigers.
Sandoval: "It's a dream come true. Being champions with 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 MVP."
Zito: "My only goal (in the NLCS Game 5) was to go out and give everything I had and to know if I was going to be sitting at home in the offseason for four months, I wasn't going to be saying, 'What if?' It was just about going out and doing my best. All of a sudden, the blessings came through in droves, and it took us all the way to a World Series sweep."