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When Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez stepped up to the plate in Tuesday night’s first inning, he had three extra special guests cheering for him.
Fresh after arriving from Cuba, his father, Agustín Eduardo Álvarez Salazar, teary-eyed mother Mailyn Cadogan Reyes and brother Yonder Alvarez Cadogan each proudly wore Alvarez’s No. 44 jersey as they gazed wide-eyed onto the field, saw the Houston star play professionally. for the first time.
“This is one of my greatest moments in my entire life,” his father told The Associated Press in Spanish through a translator. “And I may be able to say so many words, but the truth is, there are no words to express what I’m feeling right now.”
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His son also did his part, getting an early hit as the AL West leaders beat Minnesota 4-2.
Being at Minute Maid Park to watch Alvarez pitch for the first time in his fourth major league season was a long and arduous operation that involved many obstacles.
“It was an extensive process to get here,” Salazar said. “We had to go through a lot of difficulties to get here today.”
Despite those struggles, the family never gave up hope that they would get to see their son play in the majors. They arrived on Friday.
“It never occurred to us that we wouldn’t be able to be here,” his father said. “We know that to make things happen we have to face difficulties and that is why we are here today.”
So how did Alvarez, who has long spoken about his desire for his family to see him play, respond to learning that they would finally get to watch him after such a long wait?
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“He was just happy and excited because we were all waiting for this moment to come,” Salazar said.
Alvarez was thrilled to learn how special it was for his parents to finally see him play after being away from them for so long.
“It means everything,” he said in Spanish through a translator. “Obviously, when I came to the United States it wasn’t easy. And when I got here, I made it on my own. I knew I had their support, but obviously they weren’t here.”
Alvarez left Cuba in 2016 and took up residence in Haiti before signing with the Dodgers as an international free agent in June of that year. That August he was traded to the Astros. He made his MLB debut in June 2019 and went on to win American League Rookie of the Year.
His parents missed out on that stellar rookie season, as well as his two trips to the World Series. They said the last time they saw him play in person was in 2014.
Alvarez said he was the most nervous he’d ever been in a game Tuesday night, even more than in any game of any World Series he’s played.
While they were away from their son, they certainly worried a little, but they didn’t worry too much because they knew there was an entire community watching over the 25-year-old.
“I want to thank Houston because … they have adopted Jordan as their child,” his father said. “And that’s something that makes us feel safe and at peace. And I’m happy about that.”
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His father beamed as he watched his son’s first Tuesday. For his mother the whole night was a little too much.
When she recalled a game earlier this year when Alvarez called her at home to tell her he’d hit a homer for her on her birthday, she was overcome with emotion and wept openly — wiping away tears after tears streamed down his face.
“I’m proud,” said his mother. “And that’s a feeling only a mother knows how it feels. I have no words to express what I feel right now and what’s going through my mind right now.”
It was easy to see how proud Alvarez’s parents are of their son, who entered Tuesday tied for third in the majors with 31 home runs. And while they’re excited about his success on the field, they’re just as excited about who he is off it.
“The first thing that makes us feel proud is the human being that he has become, that we raised such a good kid,” Salazar said. “Since he was a child, we saw the talent he has, but we never thought or imagined how far he would go and how much he has achieved. So we just pray to God to bless him. and keep him his health”.
For now, the family is staying with Alvarez at his home in Houston. They are not sure how long they will stay. But as long as it is they are sinking every moment.
“We hope they stay here forever,” Alvarez said after the game.
Asked what the long-awaited night meant for them, the mother and father answered almost in unison with the same phrase.
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“A dream come true,” they said in Spanish.
Translation: A dream come true.