Alumni Player Capsule – Kelvin Espinosa

For our first Alumni Player Capsules is 2006 Scout Team catcher and current Future 15s Head Coach, Kelvin Espinosa. Kelvin is currently living in Goldens Bridge, NY with his wife, Lyracel, and his daughter. You can reach Kelvin on Twitter: @KELZZZ10 and Instagram: @ON3SEV3NFLAT.

What years were you with the organization?

I was with the organization in 2006, which was also my senior year at George Washington High School.

What are some of your favorite highlights/memories with the Nine that you can share?

One memory that I will always remember is playing in the NABF World series in Jackson, Mississippi. We were one of three New York teams there and no one knew who we were, but by the end of that tournament we were pretty much rock stars. We finished 3rd, if I’m not mistaken, which is a huge accomplishment coming from the northeast and facing the top notch talent from the south that gets to play year round. One of my favorite memories from that tournament was when we played against the Colorado Jets, with the winner advancing to the final 4. We were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 6th inning when I came up and knocked a 2 RBI double down the left field line to help us win that game and advance. The funny thing is that the Colorado Jets pitcher I hit that double off of would become my college teammate the following year. I never knew that I could bond with a group of guys like I did that one summer on the Nine. The memories we made, the tournaments we won will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Did the Nine afford you the collegiate/professional exposure you had hoped for?

When I graduated High School in 2006, I hadn’t been recruited. I’ve always been the guy that flies under the radar, but when Ian Millman stepped into my life, it changed me forever. Coach Millman gave me a shot when others didn’t. He let me showcase my talent on a national level. When my summer with the Nine came to an end, I was offered a scholarship to play at Garden City CC in Kansas. Growing up in Washington Heights, you either become a pro ballplayer or bust, in the eyes of the baseball community. But, I really felt that college would help me grow as a player and as a person and boy did it!

What College/University did you attend? What was your major? Did the Nine play a role in your college selection?

As a freshman I attended Garden City CC where my major was sports and fitness. if it weren’t for the New York Nine I honestly don’t know where I would be today. After Garden City, I transferred to Alfred State College where I finished my Sophomore year. At Alfred State, I was a 2nd Team All-Conference catcher and was 3rd in the NAIA in runners caught stealing. When I completed my junior college years I transferred to Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia (NAIA Nationally ranked 4th in the country). At BPC, I was 2nd Team All-Conference and lead the nation in runners caught stealing, and our team advanced to only its second ever NAIA College World Series. My Senior year, I was again named to the All-Conference team and was handed the Southern States Athletic Conference Gold Glove Award at the catcher position.

How did the Nine prepare you for the challenges and obstacles faced in your daily life?

I wasn’t one of the top recruits at my school and was thrilled when Coach Millman added me to the Scout Team roster because the New York Nine Scout team was the best in the area. Our pitching staff that year was probably one of the best in the nation. we probably had 3 or 4 guys drafted on that staff and I was pretty much in control every game, playing in big stadiums and in front of big crowds. I honestly think that contributed greatly to my growth as an adult. Learning how to control your emotions in front of hundreds or thousands of people isn’t very easy but with that New York Nine team, everything felt easy, especially with the amount of talent we had.

What is your current occupation?

I am currently working for Cintas Corporation as a Service Sales Representative and proud New York Nine Coach.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I honestly listen to all kinds of music. I was raised in New York, and going to school in Kansas really opened my eyes and ears to different cultures, so I would have to say country music, rap and hip hop. I am a huge Jason Aldean fan when it comes to country music and Jay-Z is my favorite rapper, who I love to listen to when I work out. What a mix!

Who are the most influential people in your life?

The most influential people in my life have always been my mother, brother and sister. I am the youngest of three and with all of their life experiences they’ve taught me rights and wrongs. They always guided me away from harm and always encouraged me to do what I love. They were always my biggest baseball supporters from Little League all the way to my final college game in Georgia, which they attended.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Ten years from now I can picture myself opening my own baseball facility. But, meeting all kinds of people throughout my baseball journey has made me very flexible, and 10 years from now is a long time so we’re just going to have to see what the future holds.

If you could share one message with current or future New York Nine players and their families, what would it be?

If your child wants to play baseball in an environment that represents the real world and professional baseball, New York Nine is the place to be. The things they will experience throughout the summer can change a young athlete’s life forever. I played in New York all my life as a kid and my first trip out of state was with the New York Nine and I will be forever grateful. I have been a coach here for 4 years and I always try to give the kids an even better experience than I had as a player here. I like to maintain a professional and caring relationship with my players because at the end of the day, baseball helps us gain an appreciation for all types of people and how life really works.

Any closing thoughts?

I appreciate everything that the New York Nine has done for me in my life. This is the best organization I know and it is why I have been apart of it for 10 years. This is a family that has built bonds to last forever. So from my family to the New York Nine family, congratulations on a successful 10 years of great baseball, friendships and brotherhood and I hope to be apart of another 10 years.