CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Baseball starts again in February, but for two South Florida All-Stars who are also longtime friends, it’s an all-year family affair.
Manny Machado and Yonder Alonso have known each other since they were teenagers, since the days when one of them played at Brito High School and the other hit the diamond at the University of Miami.
“Since day 1, he’s always been there. He’s always been a good friend,” said Machado. “He’s always been a good mentor to me, and we are where we are right now because we push each other and we have each other in this thing.”
Nowadays, their current gigs are a little more high profile. Machado is a three-time All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles, and Alonso, who played for the American League in last July’s All-Star Game in Miami, is currently a first baseman for the Cleveland Indians.
For the past several years, the two have been together in the off-season, pushing each other six days a week at Mark Light Stadium, located on the UM campus in Coral Gables.
“It’s a long season, so it’s an all-year-round,” said Alonso. “When we get home, we don’t just go out and vacation for two months. Most of the time, we come home and you take a week off, and you’re right back to training, getting ready for the next year.”
There’s something that makes the men’s bond even stronger. Machado considers Alonso as an older brother.
He is also Machado’s brother-in-law.
Just over three years ago, Machado married Alonso’s sister, Yainee.
The topic of dating came up during a workout. “[Manny said], ‘Hey, listen, man, I don’t know how I’m gonna say this, but I would like to take your sister out to dinner,'” said Alonso. “‘Your sister was the one who wanted to tell me first, but I think it’s right that I tell you.’ You know, it was cool. I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, no problem, just respect, respect our family, our name.'”
“Out of respect, you have to come to him, just like you have to go and talk to the father before you propose as well,” said Machado. “It’s just a part of being a family.”
The two support each other, even though they’re on different teams. They watch game highlights and give each other tips.
“We help each other a lot,” said Alonso.
Machado finishes the thought for him. “We’re always gonna have different eyes,” he said.
“And it’s not only just us,” Alonso continued. “There’s like a bunch of guys that are on a massive text, a group text. They all help each other out, and we all know what we’re doing every single night, so I think it’s like the Miami way.”
But the phone calls and messages are not all about how they look while batting at the plate. “Most of the time, we leave the baseball stuff till the end of our conversations,” said Alonso. “The beginning of our conversations is usually, ‘How’s your puppy?’ ‘And how’s my son?’ You know, ‘What did you do today? ‘How’s you sleep?’ ‘How do you feel today? How is your body?’ Just kind of keep each other in check.”
Spring training starts in less than a month.
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