The Minnesota Twins are widely known for going all around the world to find the next superstar. We have players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuala, Australia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Russia, Taiwan, Korea and Canada. So sometimes it may be hard to communicate with your team mates.
There are a few latin players that speak good english, some that speak a little bit, and most of them have no idea what we are saying, same way I have no idea what they are saying to me when they speak spanish. Like most languages you learn, you usually get taught the swear words, so I guess you could say I'm fluent in spanish curse words. Every once in a while I may try and talk to a latino and try and learn some spanish phrases, but as fast as I learn it, is as quick as I forget it. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, an english class is run at the hotel for all latin players to attend.
A funny situation we have here is Hung-Yi Chen and Markus Solbach rooming together, Chen is from Taiwan and Markus is from Germany. I find this funny because I couldn't imagine the conversations these two would have in their room everyday. While Markus speaks good english, he also has a slight accent, and Chen speaks very limited english. Chen refers to Markus as his english teacher. I try to speak to Chen as often as I can and teach him many baseball sayings, and its fun talking with him because he is very eager to learn.
During the offseason I played with the Sydney Blue Sox in the new Australian Baseball League, and I was privileged to be part of a bullpen that included Koo Dae-Sung, who is a baseball legend in Korea. For people that are unfamiliar with his legendary status, he is the all time saves leader in the Korean Major Leagues, and also in In 1996, he won both a Gold Glove Award and the MVP of the Korean Major Leagues with a 1.88 ERA, 18 wins, 24 saves and 183 strikeouts in 139 innings pitched. He had a wealth of knowledge of the game, but one thing we always said amongst ourselves while watching him play and workout was, "I wish he could speak english". I'm sure we would of been overwhelmed with information he would provide us with.
Coaches always tell the international players that learning english is very important to their development as a professional baseball player. They say this because the players that can speak english are more coachable, and this will help them move up to the next level quicker.