Union City native Andrew Alvarado knows how difficult it can be to chase your dream when your family is on a budget.
“I grew up poor. I understand that families in this area don’t have a lot of money,” said Alvarado, 29, a former minor league baseball player who was signed to the Houston Astros.
That’s why him and fellow Union City native — who plays for the Astros Double-A Texas League affiliate team Corpus Christi Hooks — are offering a free professional baseball camp this weekend through their Alvarado & Flores Baseball Academy.
Keeping true to their slogan — “Giving back to the community, one kid at a time” —Alvarado and Flores are holding the this Saturday at James Logan High School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Focused on accuracy throwing drills, local kids can sign up for 45-minute team lessons throughout the day. Each time slot is limited to 10 kids. The camp will also include a free barbecue for participants and prizes.
Alvarado and Flores formed their academy a year and a half ago to make professional training accessible and affordable to all local youth.
“We were both on the same page about never making this about money. It’s about giving kids an outlet to get professional training without spending an arm and a leg,” Alvarado said.
Both athletes are locally bred talents with years of professional experience.
Flores, 25, was drafted out of Sacramento State in 2008, also to the Astros. Though he’s still in their minor league system, he is out with an ACL injury, according to Alvarado. During his off-season, Flores is a local substitute teacher and helps with Logan’s baseball team. (.)
Meanwhile, Alvarado was signed out of Chabot in 2004 in the seventh round of the draft and went on to play for an Astros affiliate team in Kentucky. Though an injury took him out of the game, it hasn’t weakened his love for the sport or stopped him from sharing it with others.
“Some people go to school to be a lawyerer or doctor, I have a Ph.D in baseball and so does David,” said Alvarado, now a full-time student at Chabot. “We put in the time and the years and have the knowledge that 99 percent of the people with the knowledge try to get wealthy off of.”
Alvarado and Flores offer private baseball lessons through their academy for $25 an hour. Other similar programs charge up to $85 an hour, Alvarado said.
Since launching their academy, they’ve provided instruction for more than 400 local youth, according to Alvarado.
The two hope to continue to give back to the community that raised them.
“We want to turn the academy into a nonprofit organization, something that the community will know they can always come to us if they need us,” Alvarado said. “If they can’t afford lessons, all they have to do is ask.”
The Alvarado & Flores Baseball Academy's free baseball camp will be held Saturday, June 9, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Team lessons are limited to 10 participants max and time slots are available for 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. There will be a free barbecue and prizes for participants.
Participants should bring their own gloves and cleats.
To sign up, contact Andrew Alvarado at (510) 460-0686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on Alvarado & Flores Baseball Academy, visit their Facebook page.