Jeter Wants Marlins’ Staff to Speak Spanish

  • Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, right, looks on during the first inning of a baseball game between the Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) ap — Wilfredo Lee

New York Daily News
Published: 8/19/2018 11:22:35 PM
Modified: 8/19/2018 11:23:26 PM

Derek Jeter looked around and realized something wasn’t adding up, so he did something about it.

ESPN is reporting that the Yankees legend and current part-owner of the Miami Marlins is instituting a program within his organization that will require English-speaking players and coaches to learn Spanish, just as Spanish-speaking players and coaches have always had to do with English. There will also be an education program in the minor leagues that will offer English lessons to Latin American players.

“I’ve been to the Dominican and Venezuela,” Jeter said. “I went to Cuba with Major League Baseball in 2016, so I’ve been to those countries and tried to learn as much as I could about their cultures. Everybody expects the Latin players to make an effort to speak English. Well, especially here in Miami, if you don’t speak Spanish, you don’t fit in. I think it’s important.”

Jeter is said to be learning Spanish as well.

Given the makeup of a city like Miami that has such a large Cuban and Latin population, it makes sense that the Marlins would be the first team in Major League Baseball to do something that should have been done long ago.

According to a 2017 Racial and Gender Report Card put together by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, 31.9 percent of the players in Major League Baseball are Latino, and most of those players don’t speak English as their first language.

In 2017, 259 players on Opening Day rosters were born outside of the United States, as at least seven different teams had more than 10 players on their roster that weren’t born in the U.S. Last season, 19 different countries and territories were represented throughout the league, including 93 players from the Dominican Republic, 77 from Venezuela and 23 from Cuba.

In 2015, Major League Baseball began an initiative to get every team to have a Spanish-speaking interpreter on staff.

“It’s important,” Carlos Beltran told The New York Times at the time. “If this can avoid miscommunication, avoid a lot of things that can turn into distractions, that’s what it’s all about. Everyone should have a fair chance to send the message they want to send.”

It’s a wonder why it took so long for a franchise to do this in the first place. But hopefully, more teams will follow the Marlins’ lead.

And while Jeter’s team may be last in the National League East, he’s making sure they’ll be first in inclusion.

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