I don’t believe I’ve ever said how much I love Ozzie Guillen. The outspoken manager for the Chicago White Sox is one of my favorite personalities in baseball. He isn’t afraid to be honest. Whether it’s about himself, his team, players, umpires or columnists in Chicago. He has now turned his attention to Major League Baseball. This time it’s not about himself, but rather what baseball isn’t doing in his opinion to help the Latin population in baseball today.
Now I’m not a person on the inside. I’m someone on the outside looking in. I would like to help with a little common sense. Ozzie has brought a few important issues to the forefront that should be discussed more often. He brings up steroid use in the Latin countries being scouted by major league teams and the fact that what he says can and most of the time is dismissed. However, he seems to be a little misguided when referring to the lack of interpreters for Latinos when Asian players have their own.
“I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don’t have a Spanish one. I always say that. Why do they have that privilege and we don’t?” Guillen said Sunday before Chicago played the Oakland Athletics. “Don’t take this wrong, but they take advantage of us. We bring a Japanese player and they are very good and they bring all these privileges to them. We bring a Dominican kid … go to the minor leagues, good luck. Good luck. And it’s always going to be like that. It’s never going to change. But that’s the way it is.”
Now I can see the disdain seeing that the only Japanese player in your organization is getting an interpreter while your dozen or so Latin players that were just brought to the states have no help with the language barrier. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I believe it’s around 30% of baseball players are Latino. Now with a third of the players with a Spanish speaking background, that doesn’t really say there is a language problem, but I could be wrong.
If there is only one Asian player in your organization, you have to make sure that person is able to perform to his capabilities. An interpreter is needed to help bridge the gap. I’m not opposed to having an interpreter for Latin players, but what I am saying is that there are plenty of players that speak both English and Spanish that don’t require the need for an interpreter. But I am a reasonable person.
Every team should have an interpreter for the Latin players too. But understand Ozzie that it isn’t a slight to the Latin players that the only Asian player has an interpreter. And stop saying, “don’t take this wrong.” You know they will as soon as you say that. I’m just looking out for you Oz.
I will give you credit for bringing up the steroid issue in baseball. Yes, it appears that baseball has started to clean up its sport, but without HGH testing, how can we be sure. We’ve seen most of the suspensions have been against Latin players, but is that because they don’t know what they’re taking?
“It’s somebody behind the scene making money out of those kids and telling them to take something they’re not supposed to,” Guillen said. “If you tell me, you take this … you’re going to be Vladimir Guerrero, you’re going to be Miguel Cabrera, you’re going to be this guy … I’ll do it. Because I have seven brothers that sleep in the same room. I have to take care of my mother, my dad. … Out of this I’m going to make money to make them better.”
That is the absolute truth. What’s to stop someone from taking advantage of them when that player is in a desperate situation to help his family? I believe baseball is doing all it can to help the education of steroid use with the Latin countries, but it will be an uphill battle.
The ones profiting from steroids will always be one step ahead of those trying to stop it. I applaud Ozzie for doing his part in helping to clean up the sport he loves and is wanting to protect. Not many managers have said they want the sport cleaned up. Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals has a steroid user as his hitting coach (Mark McGwire). Does that mean the Cardinals players are using steroids? Not at all, but are they educating them. Probably not. At least they’re not saying it publicly.
Ozzie Guillen does go off the deep end sometimes, but not on these issues. Hire interpreters for the Latin players and continue to educate them and the entire baseball community about the dangers of steroid use. Ozzie is a strong voice for the Latin community and now for the entire sport.