BURROUGHS HIGH — Eddie Alvarez was well aware of the situation he was stepping into.
When he applied for the vacant Burroughs High baseball job, he was familiar with the scandal that rocked the program during the spring, when alleged underage drinking by players ultimately led to the cancellation of the season.
Now that he has been hired as the new Indians’ coach, Alvarez is already doing all he can to move the program forward, and try to put the past unfortunate incident behind the players.
“When I met the incoming juniors and seniors, the ones who were involved in the incident, I told them that last year was last year, you did what you did, and I’m not mad at you,” Alvarez said. “I told them that we all make mistakes in high school, but we are not going to make those kinds of mistakes again. Let’s just put this behind us, and let’s just play baseball.”
Alvarez has put himself in a position of not only getting Burroughs back to playing baseball, but to hopefully rebuild the integrity of the program.
The school fired the varsity baseball coach and three assistants and canceled the remainder of the season in April after discovering an assistant coach allegedly served players beer during a tournament trip to Arizona.
Indians Coach J.R. Schwer and the assistants, who were all at the mid-March tournament, were fired April 18. The coach, who said he learned about the incident just three days before he was let go, acknowledged that a large number of players were served alcohol by an assistant coach.
Initially, 11 players who drank were suspended five days. Seven athletes who were aware of the incident but failed to come forward were given two-day suspensions. However, the suspensions of the seven players who did not participate were later rescinded.
“The reason I applied for the job was to help this program come back,” Alvarez said. “I thought of it as a place where I could come in, make some changes and get the kids back to playing baseball. That’s the most important thing, getting back to playing baseball, and running the program the right way.”
Alvarez said the players were more than ready to get summer-league competition started.
“These are really great kids, and they just want to play,” he said. “For the kids who had their seasons cancelled, they were like lions waiting for their dinner looking forward to summer ball. They were ready to go and I could see the enthusiasm in them.”
Alvarez comes to Burroughs after being an assistant at West Ranch under Casey Burrill an assistant at Granada Hills under Josh Lienhard.
“I’m lucky to come from a pretty good coaching tree,” Alvarez said. “Under those coaches, I just soaked up all that I could. I learned a lot and I’m hoping that will help me in my coaching.”
Alvarez said he currently has three years participating in the Valley Invitational Baseball League and the program will also play in a winter league.