Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez chatted live online with Pirates fans at pirates.com on Wednesday. During the chat, Alvarez answered questions about his influences, teammates, experience in the big leagues so far and much more. The complete chat transcript follows.
Alvarez: What's up everyone? Thanks for chatting with me today. I'm ready for some questions.
Liam885: How did you feel when you hit your first Major League home run?
Alvarez: It was very exciting for me. It was a dream come true and running around the bases I heard everyone cheering. It was a very special moment for me.
jimdgobucs: I wanted to say, "Congrats" on hitting that walkoff home run against the Rockies and I wanted to know what it felt like for you to be able to do that.
Alvarez: Thank you very much. Again, it is obviously what you dream of as a kid. I wasn't really thinking anything up there, and there were all kinds of emotions running through me rounding the bases. It was great to see everyone rooting for me as I came home to home plate. It was definitely my best baseball moment so far.
larap: Is the whole process in the Major Leagues different than the minors?
Alvarez: You know, it's not too different. Guys are better players up here. Pitchers are more refined and the hitters are more selective - everyone sticks to their own plan. You have the best of the best now. Personally, what I do in the clubhouse and what I do to get ready for the game hasn't changed since I was playing in A ball.
larap: At what age did you start playing baseball?
Alvarez: 3 1/2 years old. In the backyard with my father. I didn't start playing organized little league until I was eight.
larap: Who inspired you to play baseball?
Alvarez: My dad said that I picked up a ball and bat at a young age, saw that I had an interest at a young age. He has supported me every step of the way since, so basically I'd say it would be my dad.
slowride17: Pedro, I love the #17. Why is it your number?
Alvarez: It was given to me when I got here.
phieralph1: How do you feel about the recent draft signings of Stetson Allie, Jameson Taillon and Luis Heredia for the future?
Alvarez: I'm glad we have those guys on board. They all have great arms and I'm sure they will be valuable additions to this team, hopefully sooner than later.
sumboddy: Who has been the biggest help to you since making the move to the majors?
Alvarez: Really, it has been everyone on our staff and all my teammates taking me through the ropes of what it's like to be a big leaguer. Showing me around, how to carry myself, what it is like on the road, etc.
SamBert: What is your favorite part about playing in Pittsburgh?
Alvarez: Obviously, the first thing is playing in the big leagues. But playing in such a nice stadium in front of such great fans.
nickdabear: Who did you look up to or try to be like when you were a little kid?
Alvarez: I wa a big fan of Wade Boggs because he threw right handed and hit lefty. I liked Bobby Bonilla and Manny Ramirez - these are guys I looked up to. I didn't really model my game after anyone, but I thought they were all great players.
larap: Who is the funniest person on the Pirates?
Alvarez: Good question - I would say it has to be Garrett Jones.
SnakeWesker: Do you feel that you are getting more acclimated to the big leagues?
Alvarez: Yes I do. Every day I've been feeling more and more comfortable as I start to get to know pitchers and teams and see them more than once.
mfb23: What is your favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh, Pedro?
Alvarez: I actually really haven't had much time to do anything else, but maybe after the season I can get to explore.
Liam885: what do you recommend as a pregame meal
Alvarez: Good question, everyone is different but I don't really eat too much before the game. I knew a guy once who used to eat the same sandwich with the same stuff on it from Subway before every game. But that's just superstition.
McCutchenFan22: Was baseball your only sport?
Alvarez: Yes it was. My dad wouldn't let me play basketball or football because of risk of injury.
McCutchenFan22: Pedro, you're an amazing player. What is the atmosphere like while being a rookie for the Pirates?
Alvarez: It's a lot of fun. I know we aren't where we want to be record-wise, but we still keep a positive outlook on things on a daily basis and it's a lot of fun to be here and to play here. We're really looking forward to the future and what is on the horizon.
pirates130: What is your favorite food?
Alvarez: Any type of Latin food. Not to be confused with Mexican food! Although that is still good too...
susieq2287: Have you ever played any other position besides third base?
Alvarez: Yes I have. I played shortstop in high school, second base when I was 14 in travel ball and pitched a little bit in high school and little league, and even caught a few games. And then I played one game in the outfield.
pirates130: What would you tell someone that wanted to be in the Majors?
Alvarez: I would tell them to work hard and have a good work ethic. Once you get here, though, you have to keep working hard and keep trying to improve your game because the game changes everyday. But mainly, have fun while you're doing it because it is still just a game.
vjs5625: How did it feel the first time you saw a fan wearing your jersey?
Alvarez: It was very flattering. It's kind of weird because the only time I have ever seen anyone wearing something remotely as "my jersey" was just family and friends before I got here. Now seeing people I don't know wearing my jersey is definitely something I'll need to get used to.
McCutchenFan22: Did you watch and learn from baseball growing up as a little kid?
Alvarez: Definitely. But I have to say, I always wanted to be out there playing instead of watching. You learn the most by doing it, going out there and working at it. There is only so much you can learn by watching. I respected the game and I saw games with my father, but I would have much rather been on the field instead of watching.
muffbucs: What is the toughest ballpark you have played in.
Alvarez: So far I would have to say Chicago. Because it is always a sellout crowd, there's crazy winds all the time and the fans are pretty hard core. At times you find yourself distracted because you realize you are playing at Wrigley.
cdavid22: Pedro, who gave you the nickname "El Toro"?
Alvarez: My father gave me that nickname when I was a kid. I was tall and bigger than everyone else, and kind of stocky. I actually ran over a kid once that was blocking the basepath, so from then on, I've been called El Toro.
Alvarez: One more question; I have to get back to getting ready for the game tonight...
pirates130: What was your reaction when you heard that you got called up to the majors?
Alvarez: It was a very surreal moment. I was in Scranton, PA playing against the Yankees when I got the news. My family, my parents and fiancee, my high school coach were all there. It was a very special moment.
Alvarez: Thanks for having me on the chat today. It was great talking to you all!