Trailblazer Veronica Alvarez named Girls' Baseball Ambassador for MLB

March 13th, 2024

NEW YORK -- It doesn’t take long to understand why people would look to Veronica Alvarez as a leader, someone who can provide a beacon for others. Last month after MLB’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day networking panel at the league’s headquarters, Alvarez didn’t just stick around and mingle for the reception at the end of the long day -- she made sure to have a full conversation with every attendee who wanted to speak with her and ask about her journey through baseball and softball.

Alvarez, who was the player development coordinator for Latin America for the Athletics at the time, is dedicated to making space and time for the next generation of women in baseball and softball, because she knows how essential that level of guidance and care is for someone’s journey. Now, she will get to do that as the new Girls’ Baseball Ambassador for MLB, taking her passion for providing opportunities for women and girls in the sport to another level.

“I’ve said this before, but when we coach -- coaches that are passionate -- we do it because we had this information when we were younger or when we were playing,” Alvarez said. “To continue to get to do that, give them my lived experience -- not just in baseball, I was a firefighter medic -- and the perspective I gained and the ability I learned from the leadership situations I was put in [is important].

“But if I can give them that knowledge that I’ve gained in 40 years of experience, and feel like I can set them up to be successful a little quicker than I was. … That’s everything.”

The league announced Alvarez's new role on Wednesday. After winning a gold medal at the Pan-American Games in 2015 and serving as the U.S. Women’s baseball national team manager since 2019, Alvarez now gets to expand her outreach with this next step.

"Veronica has been a valuable presence alongside our efforts to grow the game among women and girls,” said Tony Reagins, MLB’s chief baseball development officer. “Her achievements as a player, manager, professional coach and in player development will inspire young women to not only play our game but also pursue their own successes at the highest levels. We are excited to continue this journey with her.”

“I’ve always said that my ‘why’ is to grow the game for girls and women,” Alvarez said. “To inform them and let them know there’s a spot for them in this game. So this role allows me to do that in a bigger capacity. Not only do I get to contribute on the field, but I get to contribute in bringing new ideas to the table in terms of visibility -- because visibility is so important.”

It feels as though Alvarez’s story has been building up to this sort of monumental role in the baseball world -- even if it took an epic path to reach this moment. After growing up playing baseball and softball, she attended Villanova University and played softball from 2001-05. Following graduation, she hopped across the pond and played a year with El Club Antorcha softball club in Valencia, Spain. After that year abroad, she found herself at a desk job in the public-school system stateside, craving a piece of the diamond again, no matter what it would take.

It started with a Google search about the Colorado Silver Bullets, with her curiosity piqued on whether the all-women’s team from the late 1990s even still existed. The rabbit hole led her to searching up the U.S. Women’s Baseball National team. She eventually tried out, and that resulted in an eight-year stint as the national team's catcher, including that Pan Am gold in 2015. After sustaining an injury that pushed her away from the field and into the coaching ranks, Alvarez took a job as a firefighter medic, pulling double duty saving lives and leading players to become better versions of themselves.

From the outside, it can seem as though Alvarez was collecting side quests on her journey. Yet, she values each step.

“Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you want to do -- that was really helpful and beneficial to me,” Alvarez said. “The perspective on life, enjoying every second, that alone is important enough. When I was a medic … [I learned] the work ethic of working in a high-pressure situation, controlling the emotions of the moment and being able to perform the job.

“I had to be hyper-focused to get the end result. If I wasn’t focused, then I lost my way, I messed up. … To take these events and how people dealt with it, the good and the bad, has led me into a position that I feel confident and prepared to deal with the environment that I work in now.”

Alvarez is going to wear an absurd number of hats in her new role, overseeing girls’ baseball events like the Trailblazer Series and Elite Development Invitational, while also becoming a public beacon at PLAY BALL clinics as an ambassador for girls’ baseball across the world. To the outsider, it can seem draining and exhausting. But Alvarez is powered by an invigorated optimism about the future of girls’ baseball and softball, and a passion to be the one to help see it through.