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When Astros slugger Yordon Alvarez stepped to the plate in the first inning Tuesday night, he had three extra special guests cheering for him.
Fresh from Cuba, his father, Agustin Eduardo Alvarez Salazar, teary-eyed mother Myleen Cadogan Reyes and brother Yonder Alvarez Cadogan each proudly wore the No. 44 jersey as they watched the wide-eyed Houston star play professionally on the field. the first time.
“This is the greatest moment of 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 that there are no words to express what I am feeling right now.”
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His son also played his part as the AL West leaders beat Minnesota 4-2.
Being at Minute Maid Park to watch Alvarez play 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’ve had to overcome a lot of difficulties to get here today.”
Despite those struggles, the family never lost hope that they would see their son play in the majors. They arrived on Friday.
“It never crossed our minds that we wouldn’t be able to come here,” his father said. “We know that for things to happen we have to face difficulties and that is why we are here today.”
So what about Alvarez, who has long talked about his desire for his family to see him play, when he found out they would finally be watching him after such a long wait?
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“He was happy and excited because we were all waiting for this moment to come,” Salazar said.
Alvarez knows 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 arrived here, I arrived on my own. I knew I had their support, but obviously they weren’t here.”
Alvarez fled Cuba in 2016 and settled in Haiti before signing with the Dodgers as an international free agent in June of that year. He was traded to the Astros that August. He made his MLB debut in June 2019 and went on to win American League Rookie of the Year.
His parents missed 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 back in 2014.
Alvarez said he was the most nervous going into Tuesday night’s game, more so than any World Series game he’s ever played.
They were definitely a little worried when they were away from their son, but they didn’t worry too much because they knew there was a whole community watching over the 25-year-old.
“I want to thank Houston because … they adopted Yordon as their own child,” his father said. “And it’s something that makes us feel safe and at peace. And I’m happy for that.”
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His father smiled as he watched his son’s first at-bat on Tuesday. All night was a little too much for his mother.
Recalling a game earlier this year when Alvarez called her back home to hit a homer for her on her birthday, she became emotional and openly cried — wiping tears as they streamed down her face.
“I’m proud,” her mother said. “And it’s a feeling that only a mother knows how it feels. I don’t have words to express what I’m feeling 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 homers. And although they’re thrilled with 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 being human, that we raised such a good kid,” Salazar said. “Ever since he was a kid, we saw his talent, but we never thought how far he would go and how far he was capable of reaching. And keep 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 no matter how long they are soaking every moment.
“Hopefully they’ll be here forever,” Alvarez said after the game.
When asked what the long-awaited night meant, both mom and dad responded with almost the same phrase.
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“A dream come true,” they said in Spanish.
Translation: A dream come true.