Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MLB Managers Should Speak Spanish

1 in 4 major league baseball players are of Latin descent. It's a trend that continues to gain momentum and I suspect that in the next 5 years that percentage will be a third. These players often have a difficult time making the transition to playing baseball in America because of cultural differences and the language barrier. There's not a lot that can be done about the cultural aspect, but wouldn't it make the transition smoother if communication wasn't such an obstacle? Most Americans believe that if you live in this country you should speak English. Period. I agree that should be the ultimate goal, but becoming fluent in a second language takes time. What are these players supposed to do in the interim? Rather than embarrass themselves or give interviews where they sound unintelligent, a lot of Latino players simply shy away from media attention and public appearances. MLB managers should take the initiative to make these players feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Spanish is fairly easy to learn and the benefits are enormous. Not only will the players respect the effort, it will help make the club house a better environment when everyone is on the same page. I'm not suggesting that MLB managers become "Telemundo" proficient overnight, but there are times when a translator may not be readily available or appropriate. Some conversations need to be private and one on one communication beats third party interpretation every time. The talent dictates what ancillary tools are needed to be successful. For that reason don't be surprised when we see 1 in 4 managers of Latino descent.

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