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Guillen might be crazy, but is he right?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I can't believe I am about to say this, but I think Ozzie Guillen may have a point. In case you missed it, the outspoken manager wondered aloud over the weekend about the preferential treatment that Asian players receive compared to Latin players.

"I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don't have a Spanish one," Guillen said. "I always say that. Why do they have that privilege and we don't?

"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 ... go to the minor leagues, good luck. Good luck. And it's always going to be like that. It's never going to change. But that's the way it is."

Most people will chalk these comments up to Ozzie being Ozzie, but believe it or not, he makes some sense. Of course, Guillen's comments are taken as the ramblings of a madman, because more often than not his profanity-laced tirades border on the ridiculous. Too bad, because I think he is spot-on with his latest assessment.

I understand why it is the way it is, but it does not make it right.

When a majority of Latin players are signed they are kids - maybe 16, 17-years old. Japanese players, on the other hand, are already superstars when they arrive here. Translators are negotiated into their deals.


"I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don't have a Spanish one," Guillen said.
Also, when the average Spanish-speaking player is signed by a team and assigned to the minor leagues, chances are there is another Spanish-speaking player or coach on that team. There is usually some sort of support system in place, regardless of whether there is a 20-year-or-so age difference between the player or coaches.

Who else spoke Japanese on the Seattle Mariners when Ichiro Suzuki came over?

Organizations have come out of the woodwork over the last few days to show that they do take care of their Latin players at the lower levels. But, then again, some players have offered up nightmarish stories pertaining to their own experiences as well.

Teams may not be hiring specific interpreters for Latin players, but many organizations have intensified their English and cultural orientation classes at the minor league level.

The Cleveland Indians actually waited on calling up top prospect Carlos Santana, who is from the Dominican Republic, until he had a firmer grasp of the English language.

Not surprisingly, Guillen's own team did their best to distance themselves from his recent comments, despite the fact that the general consensus around the league is that maybe this is something, at the very least, worth looking into.

"The White Sox do not agree with the assumptions Ozzie made in his comments yesterday," the organization's statement read. "Major League Baseball and the White Sox provide a number of programs to help our foreign players with acculturation, including English language classes and Spanish language presentations related to the risks of and testing for performance-enhancing drugs. The team also has Spanish-speaking staff assigned to serve as liaisons for our Latin American players.

"Ozzie may not have been fully aware of all of the industry-wide efforts made by Major League Baseball and its clubs to help our players succeed in the transition to professional baseball, no matter the level of play or their country of origin."

Bottom-line is that Guillen has a point, but he has lost so much credibility over the last few years that maybe it would have been better served if it was someone else delivering the message.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

Follow Chris Ruddick on Twitter and Facebook.

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