#SabolSquad Sessions: 5 Things to know about our Rising SF Giants Rookie Catcher
By Wayne Jopanda
1. So you wanna join the Sabol Squad....
You're probably here after a night of celebrating a wonderful, and let's be honest, unlikely walk-off victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. That victory came at the clutch hands of rookie catcher Blake Sabol. So who is Blake Sabol for those unacquainted? Here are a few fun facts to introduce you to one of the great surprises of this past SF Giants spring training and early 2023 season. From familial ties to a football Hall of Famer to his favorite anime, let's submit that application to join the #SabolSquad!
2. Sabol, a Son of Samoa
Blake is one of a very proud few of baseball players to trace their heritage back to the islands of Samoa. According to MLB.com's Maria Guardado, Sabol embraced his Samoan identity and culture through his mother, who actually babysat his cousin, who happens to be another fairly well known Samoan athlete.
3. Meet his cousin, Troy Palumalu
Are we surprised Sabol's mom helped care for one of the most famous Pittsburgh Steelers defensive players of all time? Maybe. But we're not surprised about the potential athleticism shared between these two Samoan sportsmen. Speaking about Troy, Blake mentioned he himself tends to be a lot more talkative and somewhat the polar opposite of his more soft spoken, yet hard hitting football second cousin.
4. Blake's a Rule 5 Draftee with something to prove, on the grass and behind the plate
Brought up as a catcher through college at USC, scouts would recognize Blake's athleticism and advise him to make the switch to the outfield. Later, Sabol's path to San Francisco was a unique one. Being left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Rule 5 draft, the Cincinnati Reds drafted Sabol away, but then soon after traded him to the Giants in exchange for Jake Wong alongside some cash. Sabol then impressed in spring training having put up some of the team's best numbers while developing a bit more experience behind the plate.
5. He approves of the #SabolSquad & loves Gorillas
Blake was kind enough to answer some of my high pressure journalistic questions through one of the most consistent methods of interview: Instagram DMs... Sabol gave the enthusiastic thumbs up for the #SabolSquad formation once his addition to the Giants main roster was announced. A team with a plethora of animal-based nicknames (Pandas, Giraffes, White Sharks Oh My!), when asked about his preferred animal fanbase mascot, he offered the stoic and strong Gorilla. You'll start seeing some gorilla emojis across his comments and tweets regarding his dynamic play.
6. Our Last Hard Hitting Question: Anime
To follow up the all important "favorite animal" question, I prodded Sabol about his taste in the all important genre of anime. He listed some of the classics alongside some newer fan favorites: Dragonball Z, My Hero Academia, Naruto, Jujutsu Kaisen. Some of his favorite characters range from Vegita to Kakashi Sensei, Satoru Gojo, and the mentor mentee duo of All Might & Deku. As an extra bonus, he mentioned his love of Marvel heroes Tony Stark and Thor. Armed with this new pop culture information, feel free to go wild with the memes, references, costumes, and any gimmick hats to be sold on a chilly Oracle Park night. Let's cheer on Blake on his rookie campaign alongside the rest of our rough and tumble San Francisco Giants!
Welcome to the #SabolSquad