By Pablo Jaime Sainz
Albert ‘Al’ Alvarado has a passion for baseball.
He wanted to share this love for the game with the youth of San Diego County, so he started a youth baseball team in the late 1970s.
“I wanted to promote baseball among the new generations,” he said.
Today, Alvarado is coach of the San Diego USA Team, which includes boys from all over the county, from Del Mar to San Ysidro.
The San Diego USA Team is part of the International Boys League, a youth baseball league that includes teams from the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Korea, and Brazil.
This weekend, on Sunday, July 31, the Oklahoma Youth team will play against the Paradise Hills Youth Team in National City, Alvarado said.
Then on August 3rd., Oklahoma will be traveling to Tijuana to play against Tijuana Municipal Youth Team, he added.
Alvarado said that the International Boys League, to which his San Diego USA Team belongs, is a challenging league that includes the best of the best in world youth baseball.
“There are kids from Brazil, for example, that in addition to attending regular school, they also attend what they call a baseball academy,” he said. “Down in Brazil is not only soccer. They’re very serious about baseball, too.”
With San Diego USA Team, Alvarado said he has recruited and trained many boys who have moved up to the Major Leagues.
He gave the example of Abraham Gonzalez, from Eastlake, who now plays for the Texas Rangers.
“I try to get the best I can from 15 year olds from all over the county,” he said. “These kids are the future of baseball. They are the future stars that we will be seeing in a few years.”
That’s the reason he said his San Diego USA Team makes the effort to continue being strong.
“We’re going against the best of the world,” he said.
The International Boys League was created in 1979 after the Japan Boys League team came to San Diego and other cities in California to play against local teams.
Then in 1980, a San Diego team led by Alvarado went to Japan, and in 1981 the first tournament was held in Gardenia, California, with teams from Japan, Mexico, and California.
The purpose of the International Boys League is to foster international goodwill and friendship by holding a world youth tournament each year.
The host team invites participants, is responsible for organizing the tournament, and for providing home stay for the players on the foreign teams.
Some of the teams that have participated include Brazil, Canada, China, and Mexico (two teams: Mexico Rojo, from Baja California, and Mexico Verde, from Mexico City).
San Diego has hosted the tournament five times, the last time in 2004, when Mexico Rojo, won the championship.
The San Diego team, led by Alvarado, has been champion on four different occasions.
Alvarado said he’s always recruiting new talent for his team.
Some of the events he organizes include the Oklahoma vs. Paradise Hills game this Sunday, and the Oklahoma vs. Tijuana Municipal game on August 3rd.
If you’re a 15-year-old boy who shares Al Alvarado’s passion for baseball and would like to be part of his team, call him at (619) 267-5974.