Let's get this out of the way. Baseball is not a winter sport. It's not played on ice. It's not played in the snow. Major League Baseball organizations, in fact, try to escape anything cold by holding their initial workouts in the warmer environs of Florida and Arizona and calling such workouts, of all things, Spring Training, even if they begin in February.
But maybe you don't know Eddy Alvarez, whose present is racing around the Olympic short track in search of a medal and whose future might be racing around the diamond in search of a Major League career.No, you won't find any baseball at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The closest you might find baseball and the Winter Games is the news ticker of your favorite sports channel, where medal counts could be followed by free-agent news.
Alvarez, a first-time Olympian at age 24, is one of two American short-track speedskaters to qualify for all three individual events (500 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters) as well as the 5,000-meter relay -- his best chance at a gold -- in Sochi. (The other being his friend, J.R. Celski.) The Miami native picked up skating at 5 years old when he started doing in-line. Over time, he moved indoors to the ice and onto the national stage.
Long before that, however, Alvarez -- the son of Cuban parents -- loved a different sport.
"Baseball's just something that's always been a part of my family," he said. "My dad did it, my brother did it, I grew up doing it. It was before skating, too. I was 2 years old and already swinging bats and throwing balls. I knew that was something that I was going do."