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Homecoming trip special for Ex-Canes Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal

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The Opening Weekend series between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres was a homecoming for the Padres' Miami duo Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal.

The two share plenty of similarities. They were born in Cuba, raised in Miami and were teammates at the University of Miami during the year the Hurricanes won their first ever ACC Tournament Championship in 2008.

Then they got drafted by the same team. The Cincinnati Reds selected Alonso in the 2008 MLB Draft and Grandal in 2010. They were part of the same trade package that was used to bring ace pitcher Matt Latos to Cincinnati.

At least once every year, the Cuban duo returns home to Miami to see their families and play the Marlins who they grew up watching.

"It means a lot," Alonso said. "You really get a sense of having your family and friends here. So it's very special to me."

There is an inner fraternity that comes with playing baseball in Miami. Not just for the Hurricanes, but even in high school. Alonso said that he keeps in touch with fellow Canes like Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, Dodgers reliever Chris Perez and even local high school stars like Nick Castellano who won the state championship with two different South Florida schools.

"All the guys in South Florida have a special bond," Alonso said.

There are two types of Cuban big leaguers: those who defect and immediately start their baseball career and those who make it to the States in their childhood and go through the assimilation processes through high school and college. This is where people see the difference between Yasiel Puig and Yonder Alonso.

The love of the game is still the same," he said. "They way they play, the fire of the game is still the same because in South Florida, they play just like how they do in Cuba. If anything they show their emotions a little bit more and as players, we're taught to never show your opponents emotions."

The handling of a newfound fortune is also a major difference between the two Cubans.

"I've talked to people in their mid-twenties and teams give them 3-4 million dollars and all they can think of is how to spend it all," Yasmani Grandal said. "The guys who have lived here take that money and think about how invest in it and make more money."

Unfortunately for them, they lost the series to the Marlins and now have to go from one extreme (Miami) to the other (Cleveland). That being said, they can only hope that they can reach the playoffs and the Marlins meet them there.

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