Tuesday wasn't the best day for former baseball players when it came to having empathy for non-native English speakers.
First, Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt questioned whether the franchise could build around center fielder Odubel Herrera Then, Boston Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy ranted against New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's use of an interpreter.
After Remy stated during Tuesday's broadcast of the Yankees-Red Sox game that it shouldn't be allowed, his on-air partner, Dave O'Brien, tried corralling the conversation by pointing out that Tanaka (and others) likely employed an interpreter for the nuance -- a statement that appears true for Tanaka. Remy offered this response on the NESN broadcast:
"Learn baseball language. It's pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time."
Remy has since tweeted an apology on Wednesday afternoon:
I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments during the telecast last night.— Jerry Remy (RemDawg) (@Jerry_Remy) June 7, 2017
The Red Sox had previously issued a statement in regard to Remy's comments:
Boston Red Sox spokeswoman: "We do not share the views expressed by Jerry Remy during last nights broadcast."— Nestor Ramos (@NestorARamos) June 7, 2017
It boils down to this: learning a language is difficult. Learning a language is particularly difficult when you're a professional athlete who has to pick up on jargon and inside-baseball talk that doesn't even always make sense to native speakers.
Is there any real harm to allowing Tanaka and others to use interpreters? Does it impact the game negatively? Should teams essentially be punished for employing foreign-born players who aren't English scholars? The answers are no, no and no.