Cuban-born baseball player Yoenis Céspedes made history Monday night when he became the first player not chosen for the All-Star game to win the Home Run Derby -- but it was his interview with ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez that caused a stir online.
After the Derby trophy was handed to the baseball star with a “bien hecho,” Gomez spoke with the 27-year-old slugger and asked questions in English and Spanish then translated Céspedes’ answers for the audience. The interview sparked protest on Twitter, as Derby fans protested against speaking Spanish during an event celebrating “America’s pastime,” according to Deadspin.
Baseball fans took to twitter to complain about Céspedes’ lack of language proficiency and impose a “new rule” that requires players to speak English.
The guy that won the HR Derby doesn't speak a word of English. They outta pay him in goats instead of American dollars. #DominicanSwag
— Austin Marshall (@amarsh1996) July 16, 2013
Bothers me that the guy who won the homerun derby can't speak English... He represents Americas pastime, at least learn the language #unreal
— Alex Mortimer (@morale_bball32) July 17, 2013
New Home Run Derby rule: You must speak the English language.
— Weston Hopkins (@WestonHopkins) July 16, 2013
Some came to Gomez and Céspedes’ defense online, including CBSSports’ national columnist Gregg Doyel who posted a piece concerning the Twitter outrage the bilingual interview had sparked.
“And people got mad, maybe because people get mad when they’re scared. And people are scared of Spanish. Scared that they don’t understand what others are saying. Envious that they can’t speak two languages. Frightened that maybe this world is changing, and people like us — people who speak only English — will be left behind.”
Doyel continued by pointing out the changing demographics in the country.
“America is changing, people. Better or worse, the days of everyone here speaking one language -- a language named for a country in Europe; ironic, really -- are gone. English will always be our native language, but it's not going to be the only language. Those days? Long gone. You can bitch and moan about it, like people decades ago bitched and moaned about integration, but this is the country we have. Understand that.”
MLB numbers indicate that 27 percent of the league is Latino, Fox News Latino Reports. Still, fans insist that despite the changing face of the country, players should learn English “out of respect” for the United States.
— Nathan Frank (@Nathan_3535) July 16, 2013
Check out Pedro Gomez’s interview with Yoenis above and more Twitter reactions below.