Guillen agrees (generally) with Guillen

When White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen aired his views on the language barrier Latino players face compared with players who come in from the Far East, it wasn’t anything he hadn’t said before over the years. It also wasn’t anything that hasn’t been said by another guy named Guillen.

Carlos Guillen has emerged in recent years as someone willing to express his views on the challenges Latino players face. He talked privately last year about the good that could come from having a Spanish-speaking interpreter in a Major League clubhouse. When Ozzie Guillen said what he said, it sounded familiar.

“Twenty percent of the big-league players, they’re from South America,” Carlos Guillen said Tuesday morning. “Translators? We don’t have them. Personal trainers? We don’t have them. It’s like, ‘Hey, good luck, guys.’ They don’t know if you speak English or if you can’t understand whatever they’re going to say.”

The Tigers have been pretty aggressive in trying to help players from Latin America prepare for and adjust to life in the states. They have someone at their Gulf Coast League headquarters in Lakeland whose job is centered on language and cultural instruction. They also have English instruction at their summer league teams in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Carlos Guillen said he took English classes in the Astros farm system but still doesn’t feel comfortable with the language to this day.

“You guys are in here every day in the big league clubhouse,” Carlos Guillen said to reporters. “Can you imagine the minor leagues? It’s hard for you guys to understand what we’re trying to say. Sometimes you guys put in something wrong, and it’s not your fault.

Other times, he said, it isn’t about dealing the media, but with the staff.

“How are you going to explain to the manager or the trainer or the doctor the way you feel? How? It’s hard,” Guillen said.

“The communication is the key for everything, I think,” Guillen said. “Your family, your home, if you have good communication with your kids, it’s going to be better. It’s the same thing here. When you have good communication with your teammates, with everybody, you feel more comfortable.”

3 Comments

I agree with Carlos that there should be a translator. It’s something the Player’s Union definitely needs to address.

perhaps CG has a point, but there is other points to be discussed. 1: these players from south america know they will eventually be playing in the USA, so I would think they would want to be able to converse somewhat intelligently before coming here, so therefore while they are in a learning process about baseball, then the english language should also be available for them to learn at the same time, 2: not only should they endevor to learn the language but also some of the different customs they will be facing, this not only applies to latino players but also to oriental players, they have some of the best learning facilities in most of the oriental countries, so learning english should be no problem for them.
3: to me it would only be common sense to learn these things ahead of time. after all they are coming here to earn as much money as they can, which they take back to their home countries. just think what a commercial company would expect in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Argentina, venesuela, brazil, etc, from an american, naturally they would expect them to be conversant in that particular language, so a baseball player should be treated no different. let them learn before they get here.

one more point about latino players speaking English, is a comment from CG that he still does not feel comfortable with the English language, look at how long he has been playing baseball in the USA, he goes home to his own country every winter, does he go to school there to speak English better, I doubt he does, so that tells me he is not interested in speaking English, even Ozzie G has difficulty speaking English, and most of the other latinos do as well, so I would tell them to learn the language and stop complaining, after all they are working here, and taking large amounts of american money home with them, but I suppose they would have no gripes if they could speak the language, don’t make me laugh, if it wasn’t the language it would be the food or the living conditions, the traffic, high cost of living having to travel all the time,as well as all the crime here, as if they have no crime in their own country.

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