Alaín Álvarez carefully observes the training of his boys.
Photo: Boris Luis Cabrera.
The designation of
Alaín Álvarez at the head of the Cuba U23 team that will participate in the IV World Cup
, to begin next October in Taiwan, was a pleasant surprise and an award for a man who has always dedicated himself to baseball.
“Since my time as an active athlete, it has always been my dream to become a professional in this sport.
I really liked playing it, but I saw myself with some projection in the technical part, but never with the profile of director”, he confessed to
this Friday morning at the Latin American stadium, in one of the pre-selection training sessions.
"The part that I liked the most was the preparation of the teams, whether in the physical order or in the technical-tactical order, but they were always looking for a way to change my profile towards the direction, because they saw something in me," he adds. .
eight years ago, he took the reins of the Cienfuegos under 23 team with very good results.
During his work sequence in that category, he came to form a competitive team, to the point of achieving classification in the 60th National Series, once he was chosen to lead the big team in the province.
“I think that is why they have trusted me for this task, because of my previous results.
This year for many reasons that everyone knows, the team was dismantled, and although they are not justifications, we did not have time to put together a competitive group.
We had several gaps and we were not able to achieve the results,” he stated.
The man from Cienfuegos, who defines himself as a calm and organized person, believes that these characteristics of his personality have helped him a lot to be able to advance a little professionally.
“As a director I have had to make some adjustments.
You start with a line, with a form, but you learn from others, you take on experiences, and you change your directing style, but now
I see myself as a slightly slower, more analytical director, I trust a lot in sabermetrics, and I listen a lot to those around me,
although in the end I have to make the decisions”, he acknowledged.
Although he has never managed a national team in any category, Álvarez has accumulated several experiences, the most productive of which was when he accompanied Armando Johnson on the bench
in the last Pan American Championship,
where he obtained the World Cup ticket and won a silver medal.
“I have had several experiences.
At first, for the Cali games, I was part of a multidisciplinary group that met here with renowned athletes and very good technicians, I also worked with the direction of Eriel Sánchez and the action group, and finally alongside Mandy” , said.
“He's a very knowledgeable person, a baseball wise man, a great advocate for discipline, very patient with guys.
Those experiences lived next to a manager who has been in national series for so long and with results, nourishes one a lot.
All this is a compendium to be able to take a line and have a better behavior when leading a team like this”, assured the strategist.
For all this, Alaín Álvarez was not surprised when the National Commission chose him to take on this challenge.
His knowledge of the characteristics of the group and his service record were more than enough guarantee for that choice.
Being next to Armando Johnson was a good experience for Alaín Álvarez.
Photo: Boris Luis Cabrera.
“It is a very big commitment because we are going to face a world championship.
There is a good group of boys gathered here, with an excellent coaching staff, and we plan to achieve the objectives”, he limited himself to saying.
Regarding the possibilities of the team and the study of the ensembles that will be there, the new director expressed:
“We must shortly begin a scouting process.
We have to wait for the rosters of the other teams, because we know that they have contracted athletes and we have to know if they are going to be present, to do a little more precise work, but the desire is always to win and finish giving the country a joy. which is the gold medal.
We go with the idea of a medal,
and then we will see in the course of the days what the competition gives us.
But the boys will always keep in mind that the road is long and you have to get to the end, and that whatever is decided there”.
As he assured us,
the fundamental weapon of the Antillean cast is in its pitching staff
, according to how it has been behaving in recent years.
The defense is another strong point, and they are trying to make a slightly more offensive team that is capable of manufacturing a little more runs, so that the scores are looser, which is where they have had the greatest deficiencies lately.
When asked how much the team can change with the entry of several new athletes to the pre-selection who stood out in the recently concluded national tournament, Álvarez told us:
“The base of the team is already there.
There are other athletes who performed well in the national championship, especially in offensive matters, which is what we are looking for.
We have incorporated some that have a very good somatotype, but the group should not differ much from what has been seen throughout the cycle, although we will take the ones that are in better shape to the competition.
“We know that we are going to face different time zones, it is a very abrupt change that has a great power of adaptation, and it will be easier for athletes who have already had those experiences”.
Finally, the new director told us exclusively who will be the captain of this squad for the great event of the category.
“Here there is a group of athletes who repeat and there are those who decide for themselves and have managerial qualities, they are leaders, and the boys themselves who are the ones who decide, in the end they choose their own captain.
“He had to be one of the most experienced athletes, who brings together, who is disciplined, and that we can count on him.
I can tell you that it is Andry Pérez,
he is also a catcher, that within the game he carries great responsibility”, he confessed.
Cuba has only participated in the third version of the world championship in the category, held last year in the cities of Obregón and Hermosillo, where they achieved a creditable fourth place, after suffering the abandonment of several of their athletes.
Japan, Mexico, and Venezuela are the champions of the previous editions.