NPR

How Major League Baseball Came to Officially Speak Spanish

Latino players have long felt lost in translation in the minor and major leagues. How MLB is taking on this linguistic and cultural challenge.
ESPN's Pedro Gomez interviews American League All-Stars David Ortiz and Miguel Cabrera during the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 12, 2010. Source: Michael Zagaris

With the start of baseball season in sight, millions of Latino fans in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Latin America will be rooting for their favorite players, many of whom are transplants from places like Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. But Spanish-speaking fans, millions of whom watch Spanish-language broadcasts of baseball games, will have little idea of the lingering challenge some Latino players in the States have long faced: inadequate language support from the minor and professional leagues.

Much of the issues surround the inability of the Latino players to meaningfully communicate with the press. This can be the result of simply not speaking each other's language, a barrier in how cultural norms affect the use of language, or from poor reporting on Latino players.

One such incident of lackluster coverage happened last year when Brian T. Smith from the Houston Chronicle wrote an article on the struggling performance of Carlos Gómez during his season with the Houston Astros. Gómez, born in the Dominican Republic, speaks English, but not with native proficiency. When Smith quoted Gómez as saying, "For the last year and this year, I

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPsychology
Most Americans Are Lonely, And Our Workplace Culture May Not Be Helping
A new survey of 10,000 Americans finds 61% of us are lonely. Young people, men and those new at their jobs are some of the hardest hit.
NPR3 min readTech
Tech Companies Take A Leading Role In Warning Of Foreign Cyber Threats
U.S. cybersecurity firms are making headlines with reports of online attacks by Russia and other foreign actors. Why are tech companies taking the lead, rather than the U.S. government?
NPR2 min readPolitics
LISTEN: Senate Impeachment Trial Of President Trump
NPR is hosting live special coverage of the trial. Thursday Democratic House managers continue their arguments on the Senate floor.