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Carlos Gomez discusses issues players face while learning English

Carlos Gomez knows all too well the myriad issues ballplayers from other countries face when trying to adapt to new surroundings while simultaneously dealing with the daunting task of learning a new language. The Texas Rangers outfielder recently weighed in on the many obstacles players like him confront early on in their careers in a recent interview for ESPN’s “BĂ©isbol Experience” series.

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, details his very earliest experiences in the United States and how it took him two years to begin speaking English regularly, saying he learned the language from “my teammates, my coaches and from you guys [the media].”

Gomez bristled at the notion that players should refrain from speaking English until their completely fluent, saying not doing so “won’t help them with their learning process because they have to dare themselves.”

The Rangers slugger actually has firsthand experience in dealing with such issues. While with the Houston Astros, Gomez accused a local columnist of “intentionally” ridiculing him over a quote used in a critical piece that cast him in an unflattering light.

“I like what they’re doing right now, in which we have a person who is fully bilingual being able to help us communicate and not be misunderstood,” Gomez said during the recent interview. “Sometimes, some writers could get a quote from us which wouldn’t reflect our thoughts since we weren’t able to say what we really meant. It’s good to know you have someone next to you to help you out because there are many times in which you will be talking to a media guy and they won’t get the context of what you truly meant.

The early MLB season has been plagued by two stories where ballplayers who count English as a second language were criticized for how that supposedly inhibits their ability to be a team leader or hampers how they interact on the field with coaches or teammates.

It’s interesting to hear Gomez’s thoughts on such a topic. Perhaps his candid comments can enlighten those who harbor beliefs like those mentioned above.

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