Ten questions with Yonder Alonso

Q: Your dad was a baseball coach in Cuba, so you grew up with a bat in your hand. What was baseball like in Cuba?
A: It was a little bit different than here. A little bit more fire. It’s such a different game when it comes to the aggressiveness of the game. You don’t play as many games as you do here, so every day is pretty much do or die.

Q: You came to the United States when you were 9, moved to Miami. What was the biggest culture shock for you?
A: You know what, everything was a shock. You kind of appreciate things a little bit more, things that people here maybe don’t appreciate, like even a moving car, or air conditioning, or a microwave. Those are little things that you appreciate when you get here.

Q: You had to learn the language, you and your family lived in a small apartment, and you worked during high school and college. At a time when all your friends were going out on Friday nights, you’re this baseball star and you were helping your family clean offices. What was that like?
A: Sacrificing, you know. It was something I had to do for my parents. They needed the help and you can’t really say no when it comes to family stuff.

Q: Did you hate it at the time?
A: Yeah. It was awful. You wanted to go out with your buddies, you wanted to hang out and kinda live your college and high school life a little bit, but it’s things that I don’t take for granted at all. Now that I look back, it made me the person that I am today and I’m stronger for it.

Q: You were traded to the Padres from the Reds. What did you take from your time with the Reds?
A: So many things. Great friends, good teammates. They showed me the way to play the game the right way. Not just on the field but outside the field. All the preparation it takes to play the game and learning how to be a Big Leaguer.

Q: What do you love most about first base?
A: If I had to go with one thing, it’s probably talking smack to the other team when they get on first base. Sometimes they’re in a bad mood and that’s when I really get after it with them. Just trying to get in their heads a little so they don’t steal.

Q: I’ve always wondered what you guys talk about. Are you catching up on family? What?
A: Depends on the guy. If I know the guy well, we talk a little bit about family, but once that’s over, I start telling them, “Hey, he might pick over this time, he’s got a really good move, just be careful, this guy is really good.” Just trying to blow up our pitcher, blow up our catcher, our defense, so that way he’s kinda tentative to go to second base.

Q: So you’re getting psychological?
A: I’m trying to get in their heads as much as possible. Even when they’re getting the signs I’m talking to them so they kinda get confused a little bit.

Q: If you weren’t a major-league baseball player, you would be a ...
A: Firefighter. Seems pretty cool. And girls like them, so why not.
Q: One thing you want to do in San Diego?
A: So many things. Go to the beach, of course. Sea World. And I really want to hit up all the breakfast spots, so hit me up on Twitter (@YonderAlonsoU) and tell me all the breakfast spots.

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