One is 13 294km from the other; across the equator from the eastern side of northern South Africa to the eastern side of the north of the US.
Gift Ngoepe has journeyed all of those kilometres‚ and many more‚ to stand where he stood on Wednesday.
“At that moment, it’s real‚ it’s happening‚” Ngoepe told MLB.com in an onfield interview after the game.
“We finally have someone from Africa that made it to the big leagues.”
He said he could feel the weight of expectation from home.
“Representing my country and my continent‚ and them pushing me every single day‚ is awesome support and love from them‚” Ngoepe said.
“I almost cried‚” Ngoepe said about his early success.
He drew a walk and struck out in his other at bats‚ and ended the game on a high when he turned the double play from second base that secured the Pirates’s 6-5 win.
Ngoepe was signed by the Pirates organisation in 2008 following a stint at a MLB academy in Italy and played for South Africa at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. -