Q&A with Pedro Alvarez: Newest Pirate talks sacrifice; his passion for the game
Pedro Alvarez listens to an instructor yesterday
Pedro Alvarez working in Bradenton.
Pedro Alvarez working in Bradenton.
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- As Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez, the No. 2 pick in this draft, continues his first week as a professional baseball player, he sat down yesterday with the Post-Gazette's Colin Dunlap at Pirate City for an exclusive question and answer session.
Q. You were only there for a brief time, but what were your impressions of Pittsburgh and the thirst for a winner there?
A: Pittsburgh is a great city. I thought it was a beautiful city. It was the first time I was there and didn't get to experience the full experience of Pittsburgh ... it is a blue-collar city and it is what I grew up around back at home. It is definitely a place where I can see myself getting used to and being there for awhile.
Q: What does Roberto Clemente's legacy, particularly with this organization, mean to you as a Latin ballplayer?
A: He's a legend. Everybody knows about him. He is a guy who had to earn respect. He is obviously loved in the city of Pittsburgh and in history, and is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I'm sure he as well faced some adversity at times and the way he dealt with it and went about it shows the type of character he had. ... It just shows that the man earned a lot of respect on the field and off as well. It would be nice just to be a fraction of what Roberto Clemente was.
Q: There are people in Pittsburgh who are saying that before Pedro gets to Pittsburgh, he owes the fan base an apology for the happenings of the past couple months. What do you say to them? Was it 'just business'?
A: It is not that it is just business. It is a matter of just things being done righteously and having a fair trial in everything that was done. ... The only thing I ask is they judge me as the professional player I am now. On the field, I give it my all, judge me for what I am as a professional baseball player.
Q: Your family has meant a lot. What was it like to see your father work so hard, and drive for a car service and put in a lot of hours?
A: It definitely put things in perspective for me. ... He chose to make some sacrifices so he could be around my mom, myself and my sister.... I just go back and see all the things he has done for our family with no intention of getting anything in return and we haven't lived the most luxurious life, but we've had everything we've needed. ... The fact that I can give back makes me feel good about myself.
Q: So, can your dad get a couple days off now?
A: [Laughs] He'll be taken care of.
Q: Where do you get your passion to play this game and what age was it when you did something where people said, "This kid is different than the other kids"?
A: I don't know exactly when that cutoff age was. I just know, from Day 1, to be a professional baseball player was something that I wanted to strive for, and to be a potential Hall-of-Famer. ... I have always worked out with older guys, so my expectations have always been a little higher.
Q: Do you remember when everything was going on [with the contract negotiation deadline] what time you said you accepted the deal?
A: What time I ... ?[voice trails off]
I mean ... [voice trails off again].
Q: I know it has been a gray area and there were a lot of things going on that night. But, do you remember precisely [what time]?
A: [Alvarez raises his right palm to the interviewer and shakes his head from right to left, indicating that he chooses not to answer the question.]
Q: Through this whole process, has Scott Boras guided you and has he done the things you thought he would do when you signed up to be one of his clients?
A: Yes he has. I have absolutely no complaints. He's stood by my side on every decision. ... From the very beginning he told me that this is my show, and whatever I wanted to do, that is what was going to happen. [He said] he was going to be there, and he was, and he treated me as he would treat his son.
Q: You have been labeled as a fast-track guy. It is unfair to put a definitive time table on it, but have you mapped out your career in your head?
A: I just have to worry about going out there and playing and letting things take care of themselves. I'm just going to go out there, train as hard as I can, play as hard as I can and be the best player I can and I will let others judge and decide how quickly my process is and where my career ends up going. That is not in my hands. All I know is that what I can do is play my hardest and play the best I can.
Q: Is it going to be tough to be in a franchise that hasn't won?
A: I'm definitely excited to be part of a franchise like the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... No matter where I would have ended up, I know that I was going to invest all my time in what I was doing. I know this team hasn't had history, as of late, of a winning franchise. But I will do everything I can to put in my little grain of salt to being a championship caliber team.
First Published October 1, 2008 12:00 am