Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez spent a few hours Monday giving baseball tips and high-fives to 180 grade schoolers at a baseball clinic run by the Massapequa PAL at the Lou Anthony Sports Complex.  Credit: Dawn McCormick

Francisco Alvarez got his first taste of the Subway Series last month at Citi Field when the Mets and Yankees split two games, and it has only whetted his appetite. The Mets catcher and NL Rookie of the Year candidate is looking forward to going head-to-head with the Yankees again Tuesday and Wednesday at the Stadium.

“The two New York teams facing each other and the excitement in the two fan sides is great,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I’ve never been in a playoff game, but I’d have to [imagine] it would be like that.”

Alvarez, who already has made an impression on teammates and manager Buck Showalter with his fastidious preparation, spent a couple of hours Monday giving pointers and high-fives to 180 grade-schoolers at a baseball clinic run by the Massapequa PAL at the Lou Anthony Sports Complex. In previous summers, the PAL welcomed Met Edwin Diaz and Yankee Nestor Cortes.

“I wanted to share an experience with this community and am really happy to be here,” Alvarez said. “I like watching people play baseball . . . I tell them always to play hard and play with your heart.”

“We began bringing in professional athletes to give these children an opportunity to interact with their heroes because it’s something a lot of kids don’t get,” Massapequa PAL Police Officer Director Rich Pescatore said. “Becoming what he is may not be an easily attainable goal, but, like anything else, it is possible. He shows them that.”

Alvarez leads all catchers with 19 home runs and has 41 RBIs and an .809 OPS.  His transition to the majors is considered remarkable. “I’ve always worked hard and come up with a plan [to succeed] and stick to it,” he said.

Alvarez also has been a workhorse. When he caught 14 innings Saturday between the resumption of Friday’s postponement and the regularly scheduled game, it brought his total time behind the plate to 545 innings. Between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Binghamton in 2022, he caught a career-high 679  1⁄3.

“I feel healthy [and] that is the most important thing right now,” he said. “I feel like I can keep going. If I’m healthy and I can, I’m just going to play.”

The youngsters mobbed him when he came on the field and he gave high-fives and mugged for some photos before heading over to the batting tees. There, Alvarez gave each player some instruction.

“He showed me how to hold the bat better,” said Reeve Pelayo, 8. “It was cool.”

“For about a week, my kids have asked every day: ‘Is today the camp?’  ” said Jaclyn Paul, who brought sons Chase, 8, and Nate, 6. “Every day they’ve been practicing for today.”

“[Alvarez] is 21 and not so far in age from some of these kids and gives them a look at what could be ahead,” Nassau PAL president Rich Lopos said. “It might just be adjusting an elbow or stance, but they’ll treasure this.”

Alvarez said one message he wanted to spread was that the path to improving isn’t always a straight line.

“Grind and have a short memory — it’s the most important thing right now,” he said. “If you have a bad day, that’s in the past. Just keep working hard.”

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