Jumbo Shrimp player Eddy Alvarez out for ‘redemption’ in his 2nd Olympics

He reached Winter Games in 2014 as a speed skater; now, he’s going to Summer Games in baseball

Eddy Alvarez of the United States runs the bases after hitting an RBI triple in the sixth inning against Canada during the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier Super Round at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on June 04, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) (Mark Brown, 2021 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eddy Alvarez has one of the most unique journeys out there.

Now an infielder for the Jumbo Shrimp and a member of Team USA’s baseball squad, Alvarez is making his second appearance in the Olympics, but first in the Summer Games.

You read that right.

Alvarez’s last Olympics appearance came in a different sport altogether and in the Winter Olympics seven years ago.

The infielder in the Marlins organization made the 2014 Olympic team in Sochi — in ice skating. Alvarez competed as one of four members of the U.S. short track team. The Americans lost to Russia by .271 seconds.

Alvarez won a silver medal then.

“Like I’ve said before, this feels like a redemption trip for me. Last Olympics, when you’re so close to winning and you have to stand the podium and listen to someone else’s anthem, it leaves just a little bit of that bittersweet feeling,” Alvarez said. “And this trip is like a second chance. I’m going with this, to absolutely leave it on the field.”

When he returned from Sochi, Alvarez put his ice skates up and returned to baseball, a sport he grew up playing and loving. His body needed work though. Speed skating requires immense lower body strength. In baseball, Alvarez needed to work on his upper body strength. He put in the work and wound up signing a minor league contract with the White Sox in 2014.

Alvarez was traded to the Marlins in 2019 and he made his Major League Baseball debut last year. He was assigned to the Jumbo Shrimp to start this season.

Alvarez, the son of Cuban immigrants, is extremely proud to put on the Stars and Stripes. He’s spoken up about what his parents saw when they lived in Cuba and their decision to come to the United States.

“Because of them I’m able to put on this uniform and represent this country,” he said. “Because of them I’m able to basically have a freedom of speech, saying what I feel about and what these people [in Cuba] are oppressed about …,” Alvarez said.

“When athletes disrespect the flag and say things about their country that are not proudful it really hurts me because of the situations that I’ve had to see my family go through.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.