Red Sox broadcaster and former major leaguer Jerry Remy apparently wasn’t fazed by the pushback Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt got on Tuesday for saying outfielder Odubel Herrera‘s “language barrier” prevents him from being a player the Phillies can build around.
During the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka was visited on the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild as well as his translator. Tanaka is from Japan and has a personal translator as part of his seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees.
As Tanaka’s translator left the mound and play was about to resume, Remy offered his unsolicited opinion on foreign players using translators. “I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said. “I really don’t.”
Play-by-play broadcaster Dave O’Brien asked Remy, “What is it you don’t like about that?”
Remy replied, “Learn baseball language. It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”
Here’s a video.
Of course, “learn baseball language,” is a dogwhistle term for “learn English.” Allowing translators is how baseball is made available to players across the globe, which is great for the sport. It’s just not great for the white guys who are so accustomed to the privilege of English being the default language that they never think to learn a second language themselves; they expect others to do it for them. The United States is often described as a “melting pot” — meaning it’s diverse — but according to SwiftKey, the U.S. is one of the top three trailers in bilingualism.
Meghan Montemurro noted in her column about the Schmidt issue on Tuesday that Phillies manager Pete Mackanin speaks Spanish in addition to English, which allows him to be a better communicator. More and more players are coming to play Major League Baseball from overseas and soon, being bilingual will be a prerequisite for consideration for a managing position. You can’t teach an old white man new tricks — or Spanish, in this case — but the rest of us will make a mutual effort to communicate with our peers.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.