Is MLB becoming a Tower of Babel

Latin Players
June21/ 2017

St. Louis Cardinals fans are preoccupied now with whether their team will EVER win another game, much less two in a row. Beyond “the shadow of The Arch” however there are other issues percolating in the MLB Universe.

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Phillies’ HOFer Mike Schmidt recently expounded that Phillies OF Odubel Herrera may be unable to become a “team leader.” Herrera is Venezuelan and speaks little-or-no English. Schmidt proffered that language issues could hamper Herrera’s development as a leader. How does this question relate to our St. Louis Cardinals?

Let’s not deal with the reality that Millennials and Baby Boomers a.k.a. old white men – i.e. Mike Schmidt – also have “a language barrier.” We’ll pull the pin on that hand grenade another day.

ASIDE: I love certain peculiarities about baseball. The Manager wears a uniform… the locker room is called “a clubhouse”… the team is called “a ball club.”

I will let the usual suspects within the usual sports/news media demonize Schmidt. Can you say Curt Schilling boys and girls? I want to discuss the realities of the average MLB clubhouse becoming a “Tower of Babel”… Tower of Who – What – Huh?

In the really Old Testament pre-Noah’s Flood, “mankind” tried to build a tower to God in Heaven. God had other ideas; zapping the Tower of Babeltower builders by creating multiple languages. Unable to effectively “communicate,” the tower idea was scrapped and everyone went their separate ways to eventually, apparently, play baseball.

Getting St. Louis Cardinals specific. Yadier Molina, a Puerto Rican, is certainly “a team leader” yet, despite fourteen years in St. Louis speaks less-than-fluent English.

Yadi’s most touted skill is his overall baseball savvy and pitcher management ability. How does Yadi do that when…

Except for Carlos Martinez (a Dominican and unfluent in English) the Cardinals’ pitching staff is 95 percent English-speaking Caucasian. Have Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, et al., taken a Rosetta Stone course in Spanish I am not aware of?

Obviously Yadi and Cardinals pitchers have developed effective communication that works somehow. What are Mike Matheny’s Spanish-speaking skills?

ASIDE #2: If MLB requires the St. Louis Cardinals employ “Eugene” to translate for Seung-hwan Oh when Matheny visits the mound; how do Yadi and Oh communicate when Yadi goes out to talk to Oh? Am I the only one to wonder about that?

MLB rosters are approaching 30 percent “Latin players.” That number rises each season. There is a related concern that the number of African-American players is ever-diminishing. Skin color is not the factor. National origin is… ergo Aroldis Chapman is “black” but NOT Afican-American; he is “Cuban.”

The number of Asian MLB players is also on the rise.

MLB teams are “on the road” more than any other sport. Who do players sit with/chat with in hotel coffee shops? Is there a subtle segregation by language?

Does the Language of Baseball override a Tower of Babel issue?

Should “language fluencies” be a factor when owners/GMs consider managerial/coaching candidates?

Just more stuff to ponder while waiting for Cardinals bats to wake up. How long until the St. Louis Cardinals find their winning ways (again)? And do you think communication issues contribute to their recent struggles?


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