To win a World Series, you need more than just made in the U.S.A.
About 40 percent of the Texas Rangers roster is composed of athletes from outside the United States, a must to compete in Major League Baseball.
“Baseball continues to grow internationally. There are talented players all over the place, all over the world, and it’s certainly something the Texas Rangers have been striving for to find players that can help us win a championship,” Assistant General Manager Mike Daly said.
For young international players, usually still in their teens, acclimating to a new country and culture can be difficult. “I knew only a little bit of English so it was hard,” Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara recalled. “The food is totally different. Just being here by myself I felt alone sometimes.”
Shin-Soo Choo says the adjustment can be tough.
“It’s not easy to leave probably any country. You’ve got 18 years used to your country and then change 180 degrees, totally change. That’s not easy.”
Many over time are able to break the language barrier through their own determination.
“I just started talking to my teammates and try to learn the stuff that I need for baseball,” Infielder Hanser Alberto said.
Most teams do, however, help their athletes along the way.
“We make sure we help them out with English classes. When they are out with the teams, all have Spanish speakers, except for AAA, but by that time, most of the guys have been in the system long enough they’ve acclimated to the United States,” Daily said.
The Rangers are beginning their year in the Cactus League in Surprise, Arizona, a place not so foreign to the Rangers. They’ve played at the Surprise Recreation Campus since 2003.