Four Corners: Is one ethnic group favored over another in baseball?

August 03, 2010

Different worlds

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made a good point about Japanese players generally getting interpreters and Latin players generally not getting them.

But Guillen overlooked the fact most teams offer English lessons to Spanish-speaking prospects as they come through academies in the Dominican Republic and rookie ball in the U.S. In contrast, Japanese players usually come to the major leagues after long careers in their homeland.

This is the more relevant point: It's not easy for anyone to speak to the media in a second language, and it's entirely understandable for a foreign player to shun interviews without the shield of an interpreter rather than risk being misunderstood or caricatured.

But those who master a second language can go far in the game — as Guillen did by learning English and the Angels' Mike Scioscia did by learning Spanish.

Talent great equalizer

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

I started covering baseball in 1984 and there clearly was a time when guys who looked like me were treated better than African-Americans and Latinos.

Talent equalizes all things, and the best players were treated somewhat equally, but good ol' boys frequently got the benefit of the doubt for jobs.

But I do think times have changed. I don't think any group is treated better or worse across the board. I think better players are treated better, no matter their origin. Ozzie Guillen is bothered by the entourages that follow Asian players around. But that's only true for players whose skill allowed them to negotiate perks in their contracts. Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds had their own posses. Ditto Roger Clemens.

Latinos need lifeline

Bill Kline

Morning Call

Consciously or not, pro baseball is unfair to Latinos. Japanese players, for example, are treated better because they are older and more accomplished when they arrive in America and go directly to the perk-packed majors.

In contrast, most Latinos start in the low minors when they arrive, facing language and cultural barriers. And there's the rub. Pro baseball in effect preys on young Latinos, signing them to inexpensive minor league contracts at tender ages of 16-18. Many are thrown into unforgiving U.S. waters without a lifejacket. And, as Ozzie Guillen says, without a lifeguard.

Some Latinos climb onto the luxury liner known as Major League Baseball. But many others sink. Guillen believes Latinos would have a better chance if they had more support. He is right. Throw a lifeline to these kids.

It's about fairness

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's comments Sunday weren't just on the money, they were sorely needed.

When Guillen questioned why Asian major leaguers are afforded interpreters while Latino players aren't, you couldn't help but say, "Yeah, what's the deal?"

It's not a language issue; it's an equality issue.

One has to wonder how much of the disparity stems from the fact that Asian players, particularly Japanese ones, are usually established stars in their home countries before they make the jump to the majors, and thus are better catered to, whereas Latino players tend to be younger and less heralded.

Whatever the causes, Guillen's message was loud and clear. No interpretation necessary.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.