Rays make baseball a global affair
BOSTON — Baseball is already a global game.
Last Sunday, the Rays made it even more worldly.
Their batting order included players born in eight countries, the most for a game in modern history (since 1900), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
This included Brandon Lowe (USA), Manuel Margot and Jose Siri (Dominican Republic), Randy Arozarena (Cuba), Harold Ramirez (Colombia), David Peralta (Venezuela), Isaac Paredes (Mexico), Yu Chang (Taiwan) and Christian Bethancourt (Panama).
And the Rays could have made it a complete mix had Ji-Man Choi (South Korea) been in the lineup rather than Margot or Siri. (Their achievement was first noted on Twitter by DJ Rice (@TheReddDJ).
The last team to have players from eight countries on the pitch together, according to Elias, was the 2014 Rangers, which included pitcher Yu Darvish of Japan.
The confluence of cultures creates an interesting clubhouse dynamic, but the Rays make it work.
Baseball is a universal enough language and most players know enough English to communicate on everyday matters. Coaches Rodney Linares and Brady North speak Spanish, as do several other staff members. Additionally, the team has full-time Spanish and Korean interpreters, another on-call for Chang (Mandarin), and three staff members who speak Japanese if needed.
“It’s really cool,” said general manager Peter Bendix. “It’s really cool to see how everyone works together in this clubhouse from different backgrounds. I’m not just talking about different countries, but this is an example.
“I think that speaks to baseball today. I think it speaks to our ability to go out and identify players. And I think it’s about these guys and their ability to walk into a clubhouse with people who might be like them or who might be very different from them and create this winning culture.
And that shows something, manager Kevin Cash said.
“We pride ourselves on being diverse with our roster, which means different players have special skills,” he said. “Now we’ve reached another level of diversity in the clubhouse. And I think it’s really impressive how that diversity has interacted and embraced each other throughout the season.
Major League Baseball touts the diversity of its roster, noting that 275 of the 975 players on Opening Day rosters (and inactive rosters) this year — nearly 30% — represented 21 different countries and territories outside of the 50 states, corresponding to the highest number ever. .
This list includes, in order of having the most players, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Panama, Curacao, South Korea, Bahamas , Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Honduras. , the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Taiwan and the US Virgin Islands.
Pitcher Drew Rasmussen said he recently discussed the worldly nature of the game with Shin Fukuda, the Rays’ athletic trainer and acupuncturist from Japan.
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“We were talking about how cool it is, just the game of baseball in general,” Rasmussen said. “You look at basketball and it covers some European countries and a bit of Asian markets as well. You look at football, it’s a lot of Latin American countries and a lot of Spanish countries. But baseball is really the only sport that I think covers the world. So it was really cool to see all the representation that we have.
“It’s a diverse locker room, although we joke about our pitching staff because they’re just white college guys – that’s who we are. But it’s really cool to see the mix of people we have here and the ability for everyone to get along. It’s just a crazy experience, but at the same time, it’s awesome.”
And, as Choi said, via performer Daniel Park, “Because there’s a lot of guys from different ethnic nationalities here, I feel like an all-star game.”
After heaping praise on Tyler Glasnow signing a contract extension, how does fellow pitcher Shane McClanahan, who won’t be a free agent until 2028, think about making his own deal? “I don’t know. I’m still quite young (26). I love Tampa Bay. I love this place. my decision.” … Brandon and Madison Lowe revealed their gender on the field for their baby en route after the Aug. 20 game, firing 40 cannons of blue powder around second base. … Although Kevin Herget did not able to pitch in a major league game, he earned $15,385 for his four days with the Rays, considering the major league minimum wage is $700,000 His Triple A salary for the entire season is $114,100, or about $19,000 a month. … Players are now “tunneling” in the dugout to celebrate home runs. … Former Rays, Cubs and Angels manager Joe Maddon, who had some interesting to say last week about the state of the game, has a book coming out in the fall, written with Tom Verducci called “The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck baseball and life. … Among concerns about the 2023 schedule: an early April streak in cold Washington; only two public holidays in May; 33 games in 34 days from May to June that begin with back-to-back series against the Mets, Brewers, Jays and Dodgers; a week at home between West Coast trips in June; 17 straight games to open September. … Tropicana Field official scorer Bill Mathews has been tapped to accompany the MLB team traveling to Korea in November and work on the four-game exhibition series. … The Rays moved from third place in mlb.com’s preseason farming systems rankings to seventh, with three prospects in the top 100: pitcher Taj Bradley, No. 21; infielder Curtis Mead, 38; shortstop Carson Williams, 86. … Best wishes to media relations coordinator Ben Yarrington, who moves from the Rays to the Bucs in a year that could end in multiple rings. … Spring training schedules will be released this week. … What a tough ride for Brendan McKay, who has battled various arm and shoulder injuries since last pitching at the majors in 2019 and may now be heading for Tommy John surgery.
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