Hello everyone and welcome back to Mark Your Mondays. I hope everyone had a great weekend as the weather warmed up here in Tucson and mostly nationwide. Hopefully everyone is enjoying the start of the Major League Baseball season. I certainly have watched a fair share of games and as always, I'm pulling for my beloved Phillies (and of course the Diamondbacks). I have rooted for all the Philadelphia sports teams since I was young because that is the closest city geographically to Delaware that has professional sports teams. It's interesting how all minor leaguers (and even major leaguers) maintain an emotional attachment to the team they watched growing up, despite playing for another team. I think this reflects how all players are truly avid fans of the game also.
Only players in extended- spring training and rehabbers remain at the complex, so there are approximately 45 players still here- about 10 rehabbers, 10 players carried over from spring training, and roughly 25 newcomers. Nearly all of the 25 newcomers hail from the Dominican Republic, so obviously Spanish is their first language. In fact, instruction for stretching and drills are now all verbalized in Spanish since it is the majority language. Having all these Latin players around has given me a unique opportunity to refine my Spanish-speaking skills. I was fortunate to have taken 9 years of Spanish in school which has enabled me to be semi-fluent. I am able to communicate my thoughts and ideas, but many times, I have much difficulty understanding the other players for 2 reasons. First, they speak extremely quickly. Second, each player has his own particular vernacular based on which part (rural or urban) of the islands he lives. It's always fun to speak Spanish with these players, and I truly believe it also serves to bridge the language and cultural gap in the locker room, so all players feel more comfortable. I think nearly 30% of all major leaguers and 50% of all minor leaguers hail from Latin countries. I read this somewhere on the internet, and I'm sure it's only moderately accurate, but it does reveal how diverse the game of baseball truly is.
For now, I will continue to put in my work so I can get back on the mound as soon as possible. At the same time, I have been keeping an eye on all my buddies on the different Diamondback minor league teams. I am also looking forward to seeing my mom, dad, and sister Kelly. They are making the trek cross-country for this upcoming Easter weekend. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday. Good luck on the Easter egg hunts, and I'll see you next Monday.
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