Monday, May 04, 2009

Cueto: "Hablo un poco en ingles"

Barry Larkin wouldn't stand for this.

The former Reds shortstop, and team captain, was known for being fluent in Spanish.

Larkin would often communicate with Hispanic teammates in their native language and, on occasion, help translate during interviews. But, for Larkin there was a limit.

No. 11 would often refuse requests to translate, particularly for rookies. He was a firm believer that Hispanic ballplayers should put English to practical use, that the only way for them to learn the language was to take the initiative for themselves.

Johnny Cueto needs Barry Larkin.

If the Reds right-hander continues to drop eight scoreless as he did Sunday in a 5-0 victory at PNC Park, he needs to buck up on his English and talk about it. Instead, he uses a translator, often catcher Ramon Hernandez.

Truth is, Cueto knows English, at least enough to form cliches. Still, he refuses to speak for himself.

When a player talks through a translator, you never know what you're getting. Not that the translator is making things up, but the information is being delivered second-hand regardless.

Cueto seems bright and personable. He also is immensely talented. Reds fans, not just reporters, a.k.a. the messengers to the public, deserve to hear and read the words of this pitching stalwart.

Instead, Cueto smiles and nods, while a teammate plays he-said he-said.

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