In the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined 18 players and two coaches, the Miami Marlins were forced to make an unprecedented number of roster moves this week. But perhaps no call-up from the taxi squad was more improbable or intriguing than Eddy Alvarez, a 30-year-old rookie who has spent most of the past decade — most of his life, in fact — pursuing a completely different sport.
Alvarez made his big league debut on Wednesday, starting both games of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles, one at second base and the other at third. He went 0-for-5 that night and is still seeking his first MLB hit. But Alvarez is no stranger to pressure, or to performing on a sport’s biggest stage.
In 2014, Alvarez won an Olympic silver medal in short track speedskating in Sochi. He is not only the first Olympic speedskater to reach the majors — Lee Mazzilli won eight junior national speedskating championships, but he never made the Olympics — he’s the first Winter Olympics athlete to do so. The last non-baseball Olympian of any kind to participate in the Games and play in the majors was Jim Thorpe a century ago.
As Alvarez admits, short track speedskating and baseball don’t have…