That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Yonder Alonso All Star ” A long journey”

July 6, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics’ Yonder Alonso, left, is high-fived by teammates after scoring on a double from Bruce Maxwell during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

OAKLAND– Cuba is only 90 miles away from Florida, but it might as well be 9,000 miles away. Two totally different cultures, two totally different systems of government. For Cubans since the early 1960’s coming to the United States was the dream of a people looking for freedom, the freedom they are still denied in the largest island in the Caribbean. In Cuba the 1950’s American model cars are an attraction to tourist, not because the Cubans collect those cars, but because they had to keep those cars and fix them so they can survive. Such has been life for over half century in a country with a state-run economy, with no freedom and total centralized government control.Opposition in Cuba is simply not allowed by the government. It is as simple as that. I have friends that have visited Cuba recently and they tell me they have never seen any demonstrations in the street.

For those born here in the US, who take freedom for granted a trip to Cuba as a tourist might be nice, but I do not see anybody moving from this country to live in Cuba.

Yonder Alonso was 10 years old when his parents brought him and his sister Yainee to live in Miami. Alonso’s father was once a player in Cuba for the Havana Industriales, and later a coach, when an arm injury ended his career.

Yonder Alonso came to the Oakland Athletics in 2016, he began his career in Cincinnati in 2010-2011, then San Diego 2012-2015

This 2017 Spring Training I sat with Yonder Alonso in Mesa, Arizona, and talked with him about baseball and his second year he was about to begin with the Oakland Athletics. He told me he was working on a “new hitting approach”. Well, that new approach obviously has helped him to his best season to date in his eight years in the major leagues.

He found his power stroke and is on a pace to hit close to 40 homers and drive 90 or more runs. He told me in Spring Training how much he likes the role of teaching to the young A’s players, although he noted “tambien tenemos otros veteranos aqui como Matt Joyce y Jed Lowrie” -trans: “we also have other veterans here, like Matt Joyce and Jed Lowrie”. One of Yonder Alonso’s first public appearance as an Athletic, was during the 2016 A’s Fanfest, held at the Oakland Coliseum. He sat with me signing autographs for A’s fans at The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame table/exhibit.

Alonso is unassuming, quiet but a hard worker, and in many ways one of the veteran leaders inside a club house with young aspiring and talented rookies like Franklin Barreto (21), Matt Chapman (24), Matt Olson and others. They listen to Alonso when he talks baseball with them.

Yonder Alonso, born in La Habana, Cuba in 1987, took a trip to his homeland this past winter. He is as connected to baseball as any player today. Not only his father was a player in Cuba, but his brother-in-law is Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado, who in 2014 married Yonder’s sister Yainee. They are good friends, often seen at music concerts.

Next week Yonder will be one of the happiest baseball players in the world, he doesn’t have to hit a homerun, because this will be one of his lifelong dreams. Playing at the All Star Game in Miami, where he has lived since he was a small children, with his family and his Cuban roots.

Felicidades Yonder!

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the TV Spanish talent for the Angels, the radio Spanish talent for the A’s and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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