"You never forget where you came from."
June 19, 2017 2:31 PM   Subscribe

In Béisbol Experience: The 50 Man Interview, ESPN has collected some intimate details of the lived experiences of Latino Major League Baseball players, focusing on family, learning English, food, money, ballpark culture, and identity.

Some choice quotes from the piece, which is also available in Spanish:
"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, Marlins, Cuba

"One of the things that bothered me most was not being able to express myself when I wanted to say something. I had to live with my internal voice." — Adrián Beltré, Rangers, Dominican Republic

"[They'll think you're] a dumb person [because you don't speak English]. 'Whatever we say, he can't understand it, so it won't make him feel bad." — Marcell Ozuna, Marlins, Dominican Republic

"If you look at all players, especially Dominicans, when they get to the MLB and they get a good bonus, the first thing they do is secure a house for their moms. We Dominicans believe in this. Mom ate bones; now she has to eat dough." — Carlos Santana, Indians, Dominican Republic

"I was in Double-A, and I will never forget. My bonus was $5 million. My first purchase was with my dad. We spent $500 between the two of us at Men's Wearhouse. And my dad came to me and said, 'Hey, slow it down. We have already spent $500.'" — Leonys Martín, Mariners system, Cuba

"[In the clubhouse] an American feels more comfortable with Americans than with Latinos; a Latino feels more comfortable with Latinos." — Yadier Molina, Cardinals, Puerto Rico

"Respect [your opponents] so that they respect you. But passion should not be confused with a lack of respect." — Miguel Montero, Cubs, Venezuela

"[Immigration] is an important topic that's talked about in the clubhouses, in homes, in the streets. I hope that, like all politicians who never go through with what they say on their campaign, [President Donald Trump] doesn't go through with it [his threats to deport undocumented immigrants]. I feel the fears of a lot of people. That does affect me, not what one person says, but what so many suffer, especially if they are Latinos." — Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, Venezuela

"People come here and get used to so many things, but their ways, their swag, everything they are, doesn't disappear. You never forget where you came from." — Nelson Cruz, Mariners, Dominican Republic
MLB began requiring teams to hire full-time Spanish translators last year, taking some of the burden off of coaches and other players in helping new players adjust to the big leagues. Still, players (Latino and otherwise) who are unable or unwilling to speak English during interviews continue to receive criticism from members of the media.

Race and culture in MLB previously on MetaFilter.
posted by tonycpsu (7 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
"I brought a cookbook with me from the Dominican Republic. I had to get creative. When the season started, most of the guys and I went grocery shopping together, and then I cooked. I was on the phone with my mom: 'What do I have to do?' And she directed me on the phone."

This is the most adorable thing ever.
posted by 256 at 2:40 PM on June 19, 2017 [7 favorites]

I was just going to post this! There are some really terrific little bits in here, and lots to think about.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:07 PM on June 19, 2017

One of the most striking things to me is how many of the quotes they've chosen are about feelings.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:09 PM on June 19, 2017

"Mom ate bones; now she has to eat dough."

What a great turn of phrase, and sentiment behind it.
posted by mhoye at 5:47 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is an insightful read, and a sometimes uncomfortable one. Thanks so much for drawing my attention to it.
posted by ezust at 4:19 AM on June 20, 2017

Thanks for the post, that's a great read.
posted by suelac at 9:01 AM on June 20, 2017

Themes: buying mom a house and hating sandwiches. Enjoyed this!
posted by emd3737 at 10:56 PM on June 20, 2017

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