Tuesday turned out to be quite the day for the English language.
First, Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt said that Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera’s “language barrier” prevented him from becoming a player that the Phillies could build around. Then, Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy got in on the act.
During the middle innings of Tuesday night’s game between the Yankees and the Red Sox, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka had a meeting on the mound with Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and Tanaka’s translator. Tanaka, who hails from Japan, needs the translator because he doesn’t speak English.
Shortly after Tanaka’s translator walked off the mound, Remy weighed-in on the subject of foreign players using translators. Remy said, “I don’t think that should be legal. I really don’t.”
“What is it you don’t like about that?” asked Red Sox play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien.
“Learn baseball language,” Remy said. “It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”
It’s unknown if Remy made these comments because of Schmidt’s earlier remarks. It’s impossible to imagine that Remy wasn’t aware of them. Either way, this seems like a perfectly stupid thing to say. Who cares whether or not the guy uses a translator?
“Learn baseball language?” If signs, and a couple carefully selected words were all that was needed to communicate with a pitcher, then managers and pitching coaches would never go to the mound, and would just give signals from the dugout. By definition, if the team ventures out to the mound, unless they’re just stalling for time, it means something needed to be said which required actual conversation. If the player and the coach don’t speak the same language, that’s a problem.
Masahiro Tanaka isn’t some refugee, or illegal alien attempting to make America become more like Japan. He’s a baseball player, being paid $155 million dollars to win baseball games. Something he hasn’t done a whole lot of this year.
That’s a bigger problem. One obvious enough that it doesn’t require a translator.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn