March 22 Q of the Day
I heard that Mike Matheny speaks some Spanish. Is he fluent enough to converse with his Latin American players without an interpreter? I think that it would be important that he be on an emotional level with them as well as just verbal.
— Mike B., Owensville, Mo.
Yes, Matheny has conversational Spanish skills — Spanglish as he calls it — that do allow him to converse with his Spanish-speaking players sans interpreter. He actually minored in Spanish back at the University of Michigan at the urging of his head coach, Bill Freehan. Freehan, who later said he saw in Matheny a future coach/manager, told a college-aged Matheny that if he wanted to be in baseball for a long time, he should change his electives to Spanish. Matheny took the advice, and yes, it is paying dividends today.
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