While White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen stressed Tuesday his recent remarks regarding differing treatment of Latino and Asian players were taken out of context (“”I think people out there have to listen to from the beginning of the conversation”), a number of past and present members of the Mets organization lent credibility to Guillen’s argument in conversations with the New York Times’ David Waldstein (“Carlos Beltran remembered more than one meeting with his manager in which only English was spoken. Though Beltran would nod in agreement, he had no idea what was really being said.”)
Hisanori Takahashi, a pitcher from Japan, has an interpreter, as does Ryota Igarashi, who is pitching for Class AAA Buffalo. But Raul Valdes, a Cuban reliever who speaks almost no English, does not. And when reporters wanted to speak to the Dominican rookie Jenrry Mejia this season, they needed Alex Cora, an infielder from Puerto Rico, to interpret.
œThat™s not his job, said Bobby Valentine, a former Mets manager who has had ample experience with interpreters as a manager in the United States and in Japan. œI don™t think Ozzie was criticizing the Asian players. He was saying the Spanish players deserve the same treatment, and he™s right. There should be dedicated translators for every language. If communication is so important, why is it so overlooked?
Valentine recalled holding a team meeting after a game with the Mets when he was yelling and gesturing, and mentioned that only Rey Ordonez, a Cuban shortstop, was playing hard.
œI found out three days later that because I was yelling and used his name, he thought I was criticizing him, Valentine said.