Published on November 6th, 2014 | by Thompson0
Paul Molitor: Spanish-speaking Players Expected to Learn English
I have just two problems with answers new Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor gave in response to fan questions in a recent interview. First, he said he’d like his nickname to be spelled ‘Mollie,” citing that it looks more masculine, but I suggested his nickname be Paulie, as in a guy named Paul from St. Paul and the big sign in center field featuring a guy from St. Paul named Paulie. It’s common sense people.
My other issue is with his answer to a question from Andrew Pint about developing Spanish-speaking prospects. Molitor said, referring to he and Terry Ryan, “We feel it’s on the players who come here from various parts of the world, particularly Spanish-speaking players to learn our language.” This is simply an insanely outdated concept. The fact that Tsuyoshi Niskioka, which I can still spell correctly despite not having to do so for nearly three years, was never expected to learn English and was allowed a translator in the dugout, is ass-backwards.
It should be on the organization to correctly develop their talent, not on the talent to do it all themselves. These young kids have enough on their minds trying to make a big league ballclub to have to learn English as well. I just watched the ESPN’s “30 for 30” film Brothers in Exile, featuring the stories of Livan and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who had great Major League careers despite having never learned English because they had bilingual coaches in the minor leagues (Livan) and bilingual players in the majors (Orlando) to help them adapt. Hell, El Duque’s catcher, Jorge Posada, served as his translator in interviews.
Spanish is the second-most popular language in the world with 110 million more native speakers than English. If Ryan and Molitor blow an opportunity to bring in a Spanish-speaking coach, even an assistant coach, because of their outdated beliefs, the organization will suffer for it. I’ve pitched plenty of options, including Julio Franco as an assistant hitting coach and strength and conditioning coach. Franco would jump at the opportunity to coach in the bigs based on what I’ve read, and I think he has valuable experience despite limited time as a coach. The guy was basically a player/coach for a decade while still playing professionally.
Don’t blow this opportunity, Paulie. Adapt, like you expect the Spanish-speaking kids to.