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In case you were wondering, the White Sox disagree with Ozzie Guillen

Aug 2, 2010, 8:20 PM EDT

Unless you went into a mini-baseball hiatus since the trade deadline, you probably heard that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made some waves Sunday with his belief that Asian players are treated better than Latinos. Here’s a sampling:

“Very bad. I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don’t have a
Spanish one. I always say that. Why do they have that privilege and we
don’t?” Guillen said Sunday.
“Don’t take this wrong, but they take advantage of us. We bring a
Japanese player and they are very good and they bring all these
privileges to them. We bring a Dominican kid … go to the minor
leagues, good luck. Good luck. And it’s always going to be like that.
It’s never going to change. But that’s the way it is.”

I trust that most of us are smart enough to separate Guillen the individual (that’s an understatement) from Guillen the White Sox manager, but the team left little doubt of that fact by releasing a statement of their own Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. It reads, in part:

“The White Sox do not agree with the assumptions Ozzie made in his
comments yesterday. Major League Baseball and the White Sox provide a
number of programs to help our foreign players with acculturation,
including English language classes and Spanish language presentations
related to the risks of and testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
The team also has Spanish-speaking staff assigned to serve as liaisons
for our Latin American players.

“Ozzie may not have been fully aware of all of the industry-wide efforts
made by Major League Baseball and its clubs to help our players succeed
in the transition to professional baseball, no matter the level of play
or their country of origin.”

Before I set you guys loose in the comments section, just remember that the White Sox are trying to run a business here. What else did you expect them to say?

We can debate whether a statement was even necessary, but if there was even a chance that their silence would have signified acceptance, it was probably worth it. Guillen’s larger point resonates with many of us, but his actual quote is clouded with generalizations and exaggerations.     

  1. JimmyY - Aug 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    Of course Guillen opens his fat pie hole before thinking. He doesn’t like it, then tell all his fellow countrymen to stay out but he won’t say that will he because this is where the money is. Where we those same English speaking interpreters when my ancestors migrated here 100 years ago? Nowhere to be found, and they busted their asses working in coal mines and on the railroad, literally, on the railroad just to try have a better life. Cry me a freaking river Guillen or just shut the hell up.

  2. Ffej - Aug 2, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Love the site and had to make my first comment on this. It seems like most Asian players have made a name for themselves before they sign with a major league club (I’m pretty sure that Ichiro has a translator in his contract). Basically, most latin players are unproven and are signed to similar deals to most American high schoolers and many college players that are drafted in the later rounds. But they’re not in a position to have a dedicated translator added into their contract. If there was something close to the Japanese baseball leagues in latin america or we weren’t talking about 16 or 17 year olds, then I could maybe see Ozzie’s point here.

  3. howitzer819 - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    @JimmyY- The “if you don’t wanna speak English you can just stay out of our country” mentality went out with the dinosaurs. Immigrating to the US in 1910 is completely different than playing baseball in 2010. Everyone entirely in the same boat as then, the socio-political landscape was entirely different, hell, a vast majority of Americans didn’t even have rights by virtue of the color of their skin. Thats not what Ozzie is saying.
    @ Ffej- Dead on. Most Japanese players come over with a fair amount of celebrity and fan fare. Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kazuo Matsui, those guys were big time stars in Japan. They were also older and more accomplished than say the theoretical Dominican players that Ozzie is referring to. Moreover, guys like Aroldis Chapman (who I know is Cuban, and not Dominican) defected to the US in a less deliberate fashion than Japanese players who come to the US… Chapman couldn’t simply say “I’m here” due to rules between the US and Cuba (a subject upon which I am not an expert)
    Moreover, Ozzie is talking about young players, or, kids as he calls them. These players come over more often than not on potential, raw untapped talent. Hideki Matsui, for example, played for the Japanese equivalent of the Yankees and was a superstar, then came over to the American equivalent to the Yankees (i.e., The Yankees). In fact, and there have been previous comments elucidating to this, most young American players don’t receive similar hype. I know that American players don’t need to acclimate to the American lifestyle, but there still isn’t the same shock and awe over an average first round pick in the draft (I say average, not Strasberg, Prior, A-Rod, etc) because again they are banking on potential.
    It’s ignorant to flat out dismiss Ozzie simply because he’s Ozzie. He’s not a Manny Ramirez (in that he’s not a moron). There is merit to what he’s saying: young Latin American players enter a sink or swim system that perceptually seems different than what the Japanese players who come over enter into. However, Ichiro entered the same system, the difference is, he entered that system with a bigger boat than say an Aroldis Chapman. Ichiro was simply more seasoned. He received a translator and all such perks because there was an incredible fascination over him and his talent, and simply put, there aren’t as many Americans (athletes, members of the media, etc) that speak Japanese as there are media members that speak Spanish. Lots of members of the media are bilingual, in fact, we have channels like Univision and Telemundo and ESPN Deportes primarily geared towards Spanish speakers. What Ozzie is saying has merit, he just isn’t looking at the entire picture.

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