I didn't know how to say 'phone card.' The lady asked me, 'How can I help you? I waited until no one was left but myself and the cashier." "In my first year, there was a player of Cuban descent who spoke Spanish and English well.I asked him if I could bring him one English word a day and he'd teach me how to use it in a sentence.We cooked in there and we saved ourselves a ton of money.
Every time they said a word, I tried to get it in my head and say it and then ask what it meant. I was never afraid to ask and say a word until I said it right.
And even though some of them would make fun of me, they would help me afterwards." "Something that helped me a lot, and that many of my friends have criticized, was that I allotted time to be with Latinos and time to be with Americans.
If you don't make it to the big leagues, it can help you work as a scout, a coach or open the door to another country." "In Texas they began to teach me English with Rosetta Stone, but that did not work for me. One day he said to me, 'Hey, you can do it by yourself,' and then I started." "Playing rookie ball, 70 percent of the team is Spanish-speaking and 30 percent is American.
I learn more by listening to people and having people help me. I felt I was the guy in the middle who had to order pizzas for them at night and be that guy who makes sure that Americans understand the Latin ballplayers and vice versa." "I had an American girlfriend [in Montana during rookie ball].
Here, it's a little bit more professional in the sense that there's more concentration." "For the most part, I hang out with the Americans.
But I sit with Car Go [Carlos González] on the plane, and the Latin guys sit next to me. I know a lot of the Americans don't want to hear it, but I love it." "In the minors, I was always among the top prospects, and to be honest with you, when you're a top prospect, you're treated differently.
I was never afraid that people would make fun of me when I said a wrong word." "I tried to learn a new word every day at the stadium, things like dirt, grass, screen, objects in the dugout, chewing gum.
As a catcher, [language] is my main weapon, because if I couldn't communicate with pitchers, I wouldn't be able to do anything." "I always surrounded myself with the American players, and I think that's what helped me.
What is it like to learn a new language, crack the game's code of unwritten rules and deal with political turmoil in the United States and back home? Reporting by Marly Rivera, with Rigo Cervantez, Jerry Crasnick, Hallie Grossman, Tim Kurkjian, Andrew Marchand, Eddie Matz, Enrique Rojas, Adam Rubin, Robert Sanchez, Eli Saslow, Mark Saxon, Elaine Teng and Adry Torres. "I signed to play pro ball and I went to short season in Everett, Washington. I had a guy there waiting for me, and I didn't know how to communicate, and I was like, 'What am I going to do now?