NESN – The New York Yankees outfielder not only is one of baseball’s most unique players, with his blazing speed, unorthodox hitting approach and unmatched work ethic, but he boasts another skill that’s arguably the most entertaining one in his arsenal — he speaks Spanish.
According to Brad Lefton of the Wall Street Journal, Ichiro picked up the language throughout his career so that he could interact with Latin players and — more importantly — trash talk them for a laugh. As told by Lefton, Ichiro once asked veteran first baseman Carlos Pena “What the hell are you looking at?” in Spanish after reaching first on an infield hit.
Ichiro also once responded with something not fit to print when Miguel Cabrera called him “feo” or “ugly” while he was on the basepaths. But more than that, Ichiro said he feels a special connection with Spanish-speaking players. Although he can’t engage in a full conversation with them, Ichiro’s short, humorous interactions with Latin players has helped them build camaraderie. “I feel a bond with them,” he said. “We’re all foreigners in a strange land. We’ve come over here and had to cope with some of the same trials and tribulations. When I throw a little Spanish out at them, they really seem to appreciate it, and it seems to strengthen that bond. And besides, we don’t really have curse words in Japanese, so I like the fact that the Western languages allow me to say things that I otherwise can’t.”
First off, how about Japan being the official no fun culture? Killing yourself if you shame the family, there’s no swearing in your language? No wonder Asian chicks like us…we get to curse and that makes us bad ass. Definitely solves why we can get Asian chicks that easily.
Second portion is that the first few times he did this, it must have horrrrrrified the Latin players. You saw the reaction of that dude in the Devil’s Advocate, I’m talking that level of shock. Hell, I’ve never even seen an Asian person speak Spanish. I’ve seen many broken arguments between Hispanic and Asian members of my community on various forms of public transportation and it’s never pretty. Like a fish trying to communicate with a kid on the other side of aquarium tank. That’s a language barrier that’s never, ever been meant to ever be crossed. A bridge way too far.
That being said, Latin players must be pumped to see Ichiro now. Like when you pledge the weird kid into your fraternity, pure entertainment value. – @SaintBrendan