U.S. flag bearer Eddy Alvarez has a fun tie to the White Sox

U.S. flag bearer Eddy Alvarez has a fun tie to the White Sox
(USA Today Sports)

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Unless you keep close tabs on the White Sox farm system, you might not remember Eddy Alvarez.

After these Olympics, he'll be a little harder to forget.

In a fun and random twist, the former Sox minor leaguer will lead the United States delegation into the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on Friday night. Alvarez and women's basketball player Sue Bird were chosen to be the country's flag bearers on Wednesday.

When Alvarez enters the stadium, he'll be making history as ...

  • The first Cuban-American to be an Olympic flag bearer.
  • The first Team USA baseball player to carry the flag.
  • The first flag bearer to spend a considerable amount of time playing baseball in Kannapolis, Birmingham and Charlotte.

These won't be Alvarez's first Olympics, though.

Back in 2014, "Eddy the Jet" won a silver medal as part of a short-track speedskating relay at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

A part-time baseball player in high school and college, Alvarez returned to the U.S. after the Olympics and signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox. He spent five summers in the system, rising as high as Triple-A Charlotte but never breaking through to the big league club.

Alvarez finally reached the majors with hometown Miami Marlins in 2020, becoming the first non-baseball Olympian to play in the bigs since Jim Thorpe played for the 1913 New York Giants.

A shot at more history lies ahead, too: If Team USA medals, Alvarez will become just the third American to medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be named as one of the flag bearers by my fellow Team USA athletes for the Opening Ceremony,” Alvarez said on Wednesday. “Being a first-generation Cuban American, my story represents the American Dream. My family has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag proudly.”

Alvarez will be joined on Team USA by former Chicago ballplayers Todd Frazier, Edwin Jackson, David Robertson and forgotten 2016 Cubs catcher Tim Federowicz.  The Tribune has a list of 54 other Olympians with Chicago ties.

This second baseman was selected eighth overall by the Cubs in the 1988 MLB draft, right between fellow Team USA teammates Jim Abbott and Robin Ventura. But he never played in the majors. Name him.

News and results

Twins 7, Sox 2:  Is it really 'over' for Yermin Mercedes?

A middling Sox effort allowed the Twins to split the four-game series, but the night's big storyline was the apparent retirement of Yermin Mercedes via Instagram post.

Mercedes had been playing well in Charlotte and figured to get more time in Chicago with expanded rosters in September. The team's claim it hadn't received any official word from Mercedes also allows for the possibility that the DH was just doing his best Conor McGregor and retiring but not really meaning it.

  • Said Tony La Russa:  "I understand you’re in Triple-A, away from big leagues you can get emotional. Don’t know more than that. Will reach out to him. Could be just a little frustrated. I’ll try to explain to him that he has a big league future."

Mercedes had one of the all-time great Aprils in Sox history, winning AL rookie of the month after hitting .415 with five homers and 16 RBI. But he struggled to make adjustments to big league pitching and struggled for the next two months before being demoted earlier this month.

It had to be disappointing, but it's hard to believe the 28-year-old would pack up and go home after getting a taste of the big leagues. Stay tuned.

Next:  The Sox get today off before heading up to Buckstown to play the Brewers for three big games.

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 (10): Incomplete comeback

A two-out RBI double by Eric Sogard in the ninth allowed the game to head to extra innings, but the Cubs couldn't score in the 10th thanks in part to a baserunning blunder by Anthony Rizzo. Yadier Molina drove home Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

  • The extra inning run that scored was the first with Craig Kimbrel on the mound since the Cardinals also scored in an extra innings loss to the Cubs on May 23. Neither run was earned, of course, and Kimbrel had given up a total of three hits and three walks in the 17 appearances since that night. His ERA still sits at 0.51.

Next: Adbert Alzolay (4-9, 4.59) goes against Kwang Hyun Kim (5-5, 2.87) in tonight's series finale.

Report: Eddie Goldman will rejoin Bears

Big sigh of relief after reading that Dan Wiederer report. Goldman was missing from OTAs this summer and opted out of the 2020 season. That led to rumors he might be considering retirement but he'll be a welcome addition to a Bears defensive line that was counting on the depth and talent he'll return.

Hawks lose John Quenneville in expansion draft

Insert the Ryan Reynolds "But, why?" GIF here. Quenneville didn't play for the Hawks at all in 2020-21 and the Seattle Kraken couldn't do the team a solid and do any of the front office's dirty work. Good breakdown from The Athletic guys here.

  1. Tim Keown with a great deep dive on how the Sox are co-existing this season with Tony La Russa's old-school approach. ESPN
  2. The 10 most important Chicago Bears of 2021. Windy City Gridiron
  3. One alderman who represents the near West Sidee is working to lift the city's ban on sports gambling. Sun-Times
  4. Kenwood's JJ Taylor could be the first top 10 nationally-ranked basketball player from Illinois since 2014. Joe Henrickson looks at the 10 players who have earned that designation since 2000. Sun-Times
  5. The story behind the footwork movie that's being played on the side of the Merchandise Mart. MixMag