Friday, June 9, 2017


Well well....Tuesday was quite an opinionated day, wasn't it? Nothing like ex-MLB players sharing their controversial or even some say racially charged opinions. It's actually a Public Relations nightmare now that numerous apologies have been made.

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Just hours after Phillies legend Mike Schmidt said that Odubel Herrera would not be able to be a leader for his team thanks to his language barrier, Red Sox former player now announcer Jerry Remy made an even bigger controversial statement on NESN's broadcast coverage on the Red Sox - Yankees game and said that Masahiro Tanaka needs to learn "baseball language." In case you have not heard the audio yet, take a listen below.

Ok, so we get it Remy.....if it were up to you translators would be banned.

Personally, I really like that Dave O'Brien asked an open-ended question to find out exactly what Remy didn't like about the use of interpreters. Just like any other aspect in life Baseball is full of different theories and opinions. One thing that really stood out to me about Remy's answer was the delayed response. There was a little dead air between O'Brien's question....and Remy's answer. I interpreted that as him acknowledging that his opinion was going to be controversial, and he was trying to find a way to answer that without rustling too many feathers.

And I do think he tried to, but he failed. I believe that O'Brien disagreed with his opinion and not to mention a lot of baseball fans also. Since then social media and beat writers around the country have shared their own opinions. It just goes to show you that this is now bigger than the typical Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.

Since Remy's statement NESN has tried to distance themselves from the controversy and issued their own statement: "Relative to last night's NESN telecast from New York, NESN does not agree with any such views expressed by Jerry Remy and we know from talking to Jerry that he regrets making them. The network sincerely apologizes to anyone who was offended by Jerry's comments."

Remy certainly has put himself in the hot seat. I can't say that I understand his stance against using translators or his explanation that Tanaka should speak "baseball language." MLB has allowed on-field interpreters since 2013 and as recently has last season, baseball has required that all teams now employ full-time Spanish interpreters. Remy's opinion has angered some, and although I am not particularly "angered" by his statement I find it extremely odd.

So Remy wants Tanaka to speak "baseball language" but what does that mean? Baseball has grown and expanded so much over the years that players from many different countries are coming into the game and with that comes new cultural influence. There is no universal baseball language. If you want to be technical, Tanaka speaks two different baseball languages. Just look at some of the differences between baseball in Japan and here in the United States. He has his roots in Japan and now he plays for us. He's not new to this. He's been a Yankee since 2014, and he has been successful (granted not lately) so I would say he speaks fluent baseball....probably more than Remy actually. He has been removed from the immediate action since 1984.

And if we dig even deeper research from the Institute for Ethics and Diversity in Sport shows that this year the baseball started with almost 30% of all active players were born outside of the United States with significant increases in both Latino and Asian players. Clearly the game is attracting new cultures which means the game and the "language" will constantly change. Maybe Remy is so disconnected from all of it now that he just can't understand.

I get the overwhelming response to Remy and his colorful commentary. It does rub some people the wrong way and while I am not outraged by his broadcast the other night I would agree that it if nothing else his opinion is ignorant. Some people may be angry, but I am not. He has apologized already and he can keep apologizing but it won't change my mind. I will just remind myself in the future if I have to be stuck with a NESN broadcast I can at least hit the mute button until the day comes when he is no longer broadcast and no one asks his opinions anymore. That day comes for everyone, eventually.

For the record, our Chief, Robert Casey loves Jerry Remy.  But this is what's great about Bleeding Yankee Blue. All views are expressed.  We are censorship free here.  Gotta love what we've created here.... thanks boss.

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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