The notion that foreign born players can, and should, easily pick up the language of the country they’re playing in has become somewhat prevalent with fans and those around MLB. Proponents of the idea claim that it’s not that difficult to learn a second language while simultaneously spending six to eight hours a day at the ballpark, and that if a big-league club has the resources to provide a player with an interpreter, they should have the resources to provide the player with an English teacher. Whether it’s a majority opinion or not, that pressure to learn English is being felt by international players across MLB.
Asked whether he has felt any pressure from the fans in South Korea to learn the language, Dean said that he had not, though, he said that he has made a point to try to learn as much of the language as possible.
“I learned the alphabet, so I’m able to read Hangul, which is helpful, and I’ve picked up a few terms here and there. It’s definitely not easy, though,” he said.
He also recalled how, whether he is with his Korean-born teammates or interacting with fans, anytime he has used “one of the few Korean phrases [he] knows” correctly, everyone around him lights up, appreciative of the effort he made to learn their language.
While he acknowledges the difficulties he encounters daily, Dean knows it could be worse and considers himself lucky to be playing a game for a living, albeit far from home. He also notes that his pitching coach with the Tigers spent a little time in America and knows a few English Good Quality Cheap Jerseys phrases, making mound visits, with the help of the interpreter, easier than expected.