MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Major League Baseball owners and players continue to argue about how to play the 2020 season, some big leaguers, with the help of a local gym, are putting on weekly games of their own.
Do you need your baseball fix?
Well, League of Excellence, a gym in Doral, has transformed into a giant batting cage with pro players.
This past Saturday guys like Pablo Sandoval from the Giants and Lewis Brinson of the Marlins, among others stepped, in the box.
“We’ve got guys from the Diamondbacks, the Angels, the Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, the Marlins. I mean we’ve got a great group of guys here that bring their A-game every weekend. It gives them a chance to compete and stay active,” said Eddy Alvarez, who is part of the Marlins farm system.
Alvarez organized these weekly practices as a way to satisfy their competitive needs while baseball argues over how to return to play.
“I mean you come here and work in the cage and what not, but that competitive edge is always like boiling inside of you,” he said. “You’re asking for it, so finally we got to get out here and get some guys to throw to us. So it’s been great.”
Pitchers aren’t serving up anything easy to hit. They’re working too.
‘The last guy I faced, Chris Rodriguez, he went to pace. He was throwing pretty hard. I think he was probably 95, 96 around there. But yeah, he can throw,” Alvarez said.
This is more that BP. They make a game of this.
Around the gym you’ll see monitors that track everything from pitch speed to exit velocity, balls and strikes, and runs. It even has virtual defenders.
“It just has really cool features where we can put defensive players out there and make it as game-like as possible in a controlled environment,” Alvarez said.
The environment is controlled, but the trash talk isn’t.
“That’s what baseball players do. You kind of just talk to them and get under their skin, but it’s always fun and games here,” Alvarez said. “And it’s great to have a system like this that can tell you, ‘Hey, was that a hit or not?’”
Maybe the best part of all this is that it’s streamed on Instagram Live on their account @iam_baseball.
The man behind the camera is Nick Alvarez, eddy’s brother, who is giving fans a chance to watch some baseball on Saturday mornings.
“You know, baseball has always been in or family. It’s in our blood. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 7 years. And now it’s my turn in the pro level. Eventually we want to pass that on to my nephews and my son who will be born in two months,” Eddy Alvarez said.