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Major League Baseball May Require Spanish Interpreters for Diverse Players
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April 01, 2015, 06:19 PM
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One of the little-noticed areas of immigrants being imported to work cheap is baseball. If you have seen your local team gradually become diverse, it is by design so owners can reduce their payrolls. Now there are so many Spanish-speaking players that the league may be about to mandate an on-site translator for every team. You didn’t expect the foreigners to learn English, I hope. That would be discriminatory and anti-diverse. And racist. Below, in 2014 Venezuelan players for the Washington Nationals protested violence at home in Spanish. Joe Guzzardi has been reporting on the topic for some years, and last year he explained how baseball went from being America’s pastime to just another business relying on excess immigration:
Major League Baseball: Charter Member of Cheap Labor Lobby, By Joe Guzzardi, Capsweb, April 25, 2014 [. . .] The evolution from black to Caribbean players isn’t as casual as owners would have fans believe, that it’s an extension of improved global scouting or a greater skill level among players from warm-weather climates who play baseball year around. Instead, black players, and to a lesser degree white players, have been systematically displaced because of the little-known P-1 visa. Here’s how it works. In 2006, Congress passed the COMPETE Act which lifted the cap on the P visa for professional baseball players. George W. Bush, then-president, had owned the Texas Rangers. Before the COMPETE Act, most players came to the U.S. on H-2B visas for seasonal employees that are capped at about 66,000 annually. Players also had to vie with other seasonal employees like agricultural workers or summer resort staff for the hard-to-get visas. After the COMPETE Act became law, MLB owners could sign an unlimited number of foreign-born players with every confidence that they could bring them to the U.S. at any time. That overseas players could be signed for much less money than American prospects was even more appealing to owners. [. . .]
This is the process by which whole fields of endeavor become less friendly to American participation so business can save money. Globalist hacks blubber that “(fill in the blank) is a job American just don’t want to do” and now that mythical category includes professional baseball that can pay millions of dollars yearly to top players. The Major League Baseball site noted that the opening day rosters for 2014 included 224 players born outside of the US. That’s 26.3 percent of the total of 853 players. Wikipedia lists the names by country of birth, and Venezuela and the Dominican Republic are by far the leaders. Naturally the New York Times coverage emphasizes the wonderfulness of diverse foreigners speaking a language other than English: it colorfully quotes entire sentences in Spanish. The piece also assumes that American sports fans will be thrilled to hear the thoughts of foreign players — doubtful.
Baseball Striving to Add Voices to Translate From Spanish, New York Times, March 31, 2015 TAMPA, Fla. — When Jose Pirela, a 25-year-old Venezuelan utility player for the Yankees, sat on a dugout bench last Tuesday to speak with more than a dozen reporters about the concussion he sustained two days earlier while crashing into an outfield wall, he did not feel comfortable speaking in English to a sizable gathering. So a Spanish-speaking reporter stepped in to translate a few questions and answers. Then a clubhouse attendant who speaks Spanish arrived and the interview continued. “Were you scared?” Pirela was asked. “Sí, un poquito,” Pirela said. “Pero traté de relajarme un poco y de mantenerme positivo de que las cosas iban a salir.” “Yes, a little,” the clubhouse attendant said. “He tried to relax and stay positive that everything was going to be all right.” Such an arrangement is not all that unusual for some major league baseball players from Spanish-speaking countries, who accounted for 22 percent of the opening day rosters last season. While almost all Asian players have their own interpreters — the Yankees’ three Japanese players last year each had their own — players who speak Spanish typically must rely on teammates, coaches, clubhouse attendants, media relations officials or sometimes members of the news media to express themselves if they feel uncomfortable doing so in English. (Few reporters covering major league teams are bilingual.) This has meant that even as baseball’s demographics continue to shift toward foreign-born players, highlighted by the wave of Cubans, including current stars like Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes, their voices do not always weigh as heavily in the season-long narratives of their teams as their bats might suggest. This may be about to change. Major League Baseball has been working with the players’ union on an initiative this season to encourage every team to have a Spanish-speaking interpreter to help players communicate with the largely English-speaking news media in their native language. “We are looking for this support to be in all 30 clubhouses,” said Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who added that the union was in the process of hiring interpreters. A baseball spokesman confirmed the plans for the program and, like Clark, was uncertain when the interpreters would begin to be deployed this season, and whether the clubs would be required to comply, or simply encouraged. The two sides have been developing the plan since February. “It’s important,” said Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, who early last season urged the union to push Major League Baseball for Spanish-language interpreters to be part of every team’s public relations staff. “If this can avoid miscommunication, avoid a lot of things that can turn into distractions, that’s what it’s all about. Everyone should have a fair chance to send the message they want to send.” More Revealing Answers If a player is able to speak in a language he is comfortable communicating in, the answers are likely to be more revealing, said Fernando Cuza, an agent who has represented David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera. For young players still learning to speak English, “you’re going to get a lot of short answers,” Cuza said. For the news media, players and coaches who can provide insights and colorful quotations are valuable resources — and ones who are mined regularly. This issue rankled some members of the 2007 and 2008 Mets, who had so many Latin players that they were known as Los Mets. On separate occasions, the veterans Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner complained that reporters went to them too often to explain what was happening with the team, and not often enough to some of the team’s prominent players like Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and Beltran. (continuar)