A fantastic performance from White Sox starter Gavin Floyd against Oakland Sunday will probably generate fewer headlines than a pregame monologue by manager Ozzie Guillen on the topic differing standards in the treatment of Spanish-speaking players and those who’ve arrived from Japan. The Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck scrambled to take it all in :
“I’m the only one to teach the Latinos about not to use (drugs),” said Guillen, who got on a long roll about the subject once he got started.
“I’m the only one, and major league baseball doesn’t (care) about that, all they care about is how many times I argue with the umpires, what I say to the media.”
“But I’m the only one in baseball to come up to the Latino kids and say not to use this and I don’t get any credit for that. And they look at it and they say… ‘Ozzie said it, don’t worry about it.’ If somebody else said it, they would be playing (it) every day on the Jumbotron.
Guillen said Latin players on the White Sox “are lucky we speak Spanish, but some people don’t have that privilege to come here and (have that). That’s why I always criticize why Japanese players have interpreters and Latinos don’t have one. Very bad.
“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 (and say), ‘(Blank) you, you go to the minor leagues, good luck. And it’s always going to be like that. It’s never going to change. But that’s the way it is.”
When asked if most minor league coaches could speak Spanish, Guillen said:
“They don’t have to, we’re in the United States. We don’t have to bring any coaches that speak Spanish to help anybody. You choose to come to this country and you better speak English.”
Asked his opinion on Guillen’s remarks, “Baseball Tonight”‘s Bobby Valentine described the employment of Japanese-t0-English interpreters as “necessary” given the relative paucity of Asian players, arguing the sheer abundance of Spanish-speaking coaches and players in most big league clubhouses was adequate cover. Collegaues Nomar Garciaparra and The Kruky Monster (the latter being the last guy you’d mistake for Dr. Harry Edwards) weren’t nearly so quick to dismiss Guillen’s general point. Ozzie was quoted elsewhere as saying young Latino players are often told they’re no longer prospects if they’re not signed by the age of 16 or 17, while MLB clubs routinely draft U.S. college players who are 4-5 years older, along with claiming the White Sox had assigned an interpreter to a Korean prospect at Class A Kannapolis, while leaving the Spanish interpretation to one player — Ozzie’s son Oney.