Bartolo Colon: English is good.

So I’ve never, ever, ever, ever been one of those “Speak English or don’t live here” people. As far as I’m concerned, people in American can speak whatever language they want. It’s their right, and if they want to miss out on certain things by not understanding the official language, hey, who am I to complain? It impacts my life in precisely, oh, zero ways.

That said, while watching a couple of minutes of the Yankees’ postgame show tonight, I was shocked to see Bartolo Colon using a Spanish-English translator.

Is there anything, technically, wrong with this? No, there isn’t. But Colon ain’t exactly a new kid on the block. Born and raised in the poor Dominican town of Altamira, Colon first came to the United States in 1993—eighteen long years ago. Since then, he’s spent the bulk of his time living here, traveling to the various cities, meeting tons of people, etc … etc.

So how doesn’t he now speak fluent English?

Honestly, I’m not sure. But it’s sorta weird.

10 thoughts on “Bartolo Colon: English is good.”

  1. I am very surprised at that. Come to think of it, How is Vladimir Guerrero’s english? he was another player that I met in the minor leagues that didn’t know English either

  2. I’ve thought the same thing about Jose Contreras, who still uses his Phillies teammate Danyz Baez as an interpreter. It’s not that he HAS to learn English to satisfy me; it’s just that I don’t comprehend how he could not have picked it up by now. It seems like it would take a serious effort to AVOID learning the language of your new home country for a decade.

  3. Colon played on the Indians from the mid 90’s until about 2002. Every season, they would hire him an English tutor to teach him English (he was unable to communicate with the manager or catcher at the time).

    After about 4 seasons of this, the organization stopped hiring tutors b/c Colon showed zero improvement. He was either too dumb, or just didn’t care enough to learn the language.

    On a side note, Colon and Manny were supposedly best friends on the Indians. Probably some good times were had by those two.

  4. This has been a problem for many years. Its possible because these guys refuse to learn the language and on the rare occasion that they do, they are made fun of because of their accents. Its not astonishing at all that these guys are extremely dumb to boot. I guarentee you all of them know all the curse words. That they don’t mind learning and saying. Jose Reyes is one of the few exceptions. He doesn’t speak perfect english, but clearly the effort is there and to some degree he cares. Maybe their should be stipulation in their contract saying that they need to speak the language or their will be consequences, say a fine of some sort. Perhaps I am getting carried away, but this has gone on far too long. Its embarassing for them, their country and the organizations they play for.

  5. Yeah, it’s … perplexing. English (so I hear) is among the toughest language for non-native speakers to learn so there is that. But for a guy to go that long and not even be proficient enough to answer “so, what was working for you out there?” makes me wonder. I mean, I’m picking up some Japanese just by watching A’s postgame interviews with Matsui, who speaks through an interpreter. Must not be that important to Colon.

  6. Why is it so hard to believe?

    My grandmother came from the old country live here for 60 years and really didn’t speak the language…think about it how many have similar stories…

    you are also forgetting an important point…it could be a comfort level issue…not everyone trusts the press…maybe he is making sure he completely understand the question and the answer he is giving

  7. I have a friend that was born in Mexico.
    He is now an American citizen and speaks the language quite well.
    When we are together and he runs across someone that seems Hispanic he immediately starts speaking Spanish. It leaves me out. He does this even if the other person is fluent in English.
    So no, I don’t understand this isolationism.
    Seems a player should try to connect with the team.

  8. Colon has never bothered to stay in shape with millions of dollars at stake. Why would he take the time to master a second language?

  9. Bartolo does speak English, just not particularly well. He prefers to do his interviews through a translator just to make sure he understands everything correctly. A bunch of people on the Yanks have talked about funny things he’s said, including Girardi and Swisher (if memory serves), so he clearly speaks English to some degree, but probably only does it when slipping up doesn’t matter. It can be a huge deal if you screw up in the media.

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