Today, ESPN published something pretty remarkable; an in-depth look at what it is like for Latinos in the Major Leagues. They are calling this project the Béisbol Experience.
They interviewed over 50 players for the story, breaking down their comments into various categories, giving us a better look at who these people are as people. Given the language barriers that often exist between these players and many of their fans, this is a look into areas those of us who don’t speak Spanish often don’t see and regularly don’t understand.
A few of my favorite quotes from the series.
“I went almost two years without seeing my family. Sometimes I talked to [them] and they cried. You have to fight twice as hard — fight to succeed for you, for your family and fight mentally because you miss your family and you want them close. Sometimes it takes you out of the game.” — ADEINY HECHAVARRÍA
“I went down to a gas station to buy a phone card for calling my family. I didn’t know how to say ‘phone card.’ The lady asked me, ‘How can I help you?’ and I didn’t know what to say. It was so hard. I went to the gas station alone because I didn’t want anyone laughing at me. I waited until no one was left but myself and the cashier.” — JEURYS FAMILIA
“I remember once we were in the elevator at the All-Star Game and a woman was talking to Vladimir Guerrero in English. She said, ‘Hey, you don’t speak much English,’ and Vlad said to her, ‘I speak English with my bat.'” — ALBERT PUJOLS
“Respect [your opponents] so that they respect you. But passion should not be confused with a lack of respect.” — MIGUEL MONTERO
Really, the entire thing is worth your time. Go read it.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.