Longtime Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy apologized on Twitter this morning for comments about making translators illegal in Major League Baseball.
The New England Sports Network (NESN), the TV home of the Red Sox, also issued an apology.
Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild’s brief visit to the mound last night to speak with starter Masahiro Tanaka prompted Remy’s comments. With the score 4-1 in favor of Boston at the time, a translator accompanied Rothschild to the mound, which Remy at first thought was a member of the training staff who would visit in the event of an injury. Tanaka had just given up back-to-back home runs to first baseman Mitch Moreland and DH Hanley Ramirez.
Remy told his surprised broadcast partner Dave O’Brien that MLB should ban translators. Instead, when asked by O’Brien to explain, Remy maintained that pitchers should “[l]earn baseball language…It’s pretty simple. I mean, you break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time,” Sports Illustrated chronicled. Check out the clip below.
The PC police on Twitter and in the sports media industry generally pounced on Remy’s comments. The MLB enacted a rule in 2013 specifically allowing translators to join mound conferences, and since 2016, full-time translators are required for Latino players.
O’Brien tried to throw Remy a few lifelines (which he didn’t grab), fist noting that a translator may be necessary to capture the nuances of language. O’Brien also added that Sox manager John Farrell apparently tried to develop some ability in Japanese to more effectively communicate with past Sox pitchers which included Daisuke Matsuzaka, Koji Uehara, and Junichi Tazawa.
The Red Sox won the Bronx battle 5-4 and moved within one game of first place in the American League East. Starter Drew Pomeranz got the win, increasing his record to 6-3, while Tanaka (now 5-6) took the loss.
In a statement, NESN reacted to the Remy controversy as follows, WEEI reported.
“NESN does not agree with any such views expressed by Jerry Remy and we know from talking to Jerry that he regrets making them. The network sincerely apologizes to anyone who was offended by Jerry’s comments.”
Jerry Remy — affectionately known to fans as the “RemDawg” — played second base for the Boston Red Sox from 1978 through 1984 after three years with the then-California Angels. He has been the color commentator on Red Sox game broadcasts since 1988, working mostly with play-by-play man Don Orsillo, who now is behind the mic for the San Diego Padres.
Recently, there has been some buzz in the media industry that NESN wanted to move on from Jerry Remy, 64, and he currently works a somewhat reduced schedule, with Dennis Eckersley replacing him in the booth as the in-game analyst from time to time.
Remy took to Twitter to apologize for his remarks during the Red Sox-Yankees broadcast.
“I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments during the telecast last night.”
Over the years, Remy has taken several leaves of absence for the Red Sox TV game broadcasts for health reasons and also after his son was charged with the murder of his girlfriend. Jerry Remy’s son is serving a life sentence behind bars.
It remains to be seen if Red Sox Hall of Famer Jerry Remy will address this situation during tonight’s broadcast and specifically what he meant by baseball language.
“The controversial take came on the same day Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt appeared on 94WIP SportsRadio in Philadelphia and said the Phillies couldn’t build around center fielder Odubel Herrera because of a language barrier,” Bleacher Report noted.
Schmidt also apologized later.
Do you think that Jerry Remy’s anti-translator comments about learning baseball language are in any way racist or otherwise offensive as some people on social media claim?
Added: Jerry Remy made this video apology.
[Featured Image by Elise Amendola/AP Images]