So, Gordon Beckham doesn't know Spanish. That's the lesson from this story, in which Beckham discusses his new role as the White Sox's second baseman, and how that role will cause him to interact with Spanish-speaking shortstop Alexei Ramirez. To wit:
"We're going to have to talk about that," Beckham said Wednesday from his home in Atlanta. "From what I have heard from (former Sox second baseman Chris Getz), it is kind of difficult to communicate with Alexei. I will make sure we know the signals we can give each other, or different words we know in each other's language so we can figure out who is covering the bag."
This seems a little unnecessary, because baseball is a pretty rigid game. When the ball is hit one way, one person covers the bag. When it's hit the other way, the other person slides over. There isn't a ton of room for improvisation; this isn't basketball.
Still, though, we took seven years of Spanish in high school and college ... all of which we forgot. But we do have the Internet! Here then are a few terms Gordon Beckham might want to learn before the White Sox take the field in spring training:
• Pelota: ball. Sentence: "If Ozzie throws another pelota of gum at me this inning, I'm going to steal his hat and set it en fuego."
• Segunda base: Second base. Easy enough, right? Sentence: "Alexei, cover segunda. ALEXEI COVER SEGUND-- dawww."
• Piloto: Manager. The inherent overtones here -- that Guillen is steering some sort of vessel, that he is a pilot -- are actually sort of frightening.
• Double mantanza: Double play, which translates to "double massacre." We don't even have a joke here. That's just awesome.
• Damedoma: "Give me two more outs." Sentence: "Come on, Bobby. Damedoma so we can shower up and get out tonight. McFadden's is calling the Gordster by name."
• And, for mutual ridicule purposes: Jardinero: outfielder, or, translated literally, "gardener." That has to be some sort of intra-baseball-player insult, right?
Good luck, Gordon. These may not make playing second with Alexei any easier, but if our experience with Spanish is any indication, it's not about using the words correctly. It's about learning what you need to learn to pass your exam as efficiently as possible. Hasta luego!
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. He is the editor of Yahoo! Sports's college basketball blog The Dagger and a contributor to Inside The Hall. Follow him at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com, or on Twitter.