Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Leyland, Carlos Guillen disagree on Ozzie's rant regarding treatment of Latinos

    Tigers veteran Carlos Guillen agrees with the basic premise of the recent controversial rant by Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen regarding the disparate handling of Latino and Asia players in baseball and the preferential treatment the Asians allegedly receive.
    Tigers manager Jim Leyland does not.
    "I can't speak for other organizations, but we have all kinds of things to help them (Latino players) adjust to the language and the culture," Leyland insisted. "The Tigers organization has a good program in place.
    "I have a son (Patrick) playing in the Gulf Coast League and I know we have an actual teacher down there (in Lakeland, Fla.) teaching the Latin kids the English language," the Tigers' manager explained.
    "In fact, my son is trying to learn Spanish at the same time.
    "As soon as our Latin players come here to this country, we provide educational programs and English lessons  for them."
    Carlos Guillen, who like Ozzie is a native of Venezuela, knows all about baseball's English classes. He attended one when he signed his first pro contract with the Houston Astros in 1993.
    "It didn't work," Guillen declared with a grin.
    "My English is still screwed up.
    "I don't think it works," Guillen added "Do you think the kids want to learn English at that age?"    "I still don't feel comfortable speaking English," admitted the veteran Tigers, who has been in the big leagues since 1998.
    "We've got 20 percent of the big league players from  Latin America or South America. Do we have a translator? No. Do we have a personal trainer? We don't have one.
    "Good luck. They don't know if you speak English or understand what they are going to say.
    "Why don't they have English classes for the Japanese players?
    "How are you going to explain to a trainer or the doctor or the manager how you feel when you don't speak English?" Carlos continued. "It's hard. You can imagine how it is in the minor leagues.
    "It's hard for you guys (in the media) to understand what we're saying. Sometimes you put something wrong in the paper but it's not your fault.  And it's hard for us to understand your questions.
    "Communication is the key to everything. With your family, your home, with your kids. If you don't have good communication with your kids, they're going to learn it out on the street.
    "It's the same thing in here, in the clubhouse. You have to have good communication with your teammates and your team."
    Because of his understanding of the game, Guillen has often been mentioned as a possible candidate to be a big league manager when he retires.
    But he admitted his difficulty with the English language might make him reluctant to pursue a second career when his playing days are over.
    Then again, he added, "You don't have to speak perfect English to be a big league manager."
    Right, Ozzie?



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