Winning is Universal

The names that were once unfamiliar to the fans at Grayson Stadium are now becoming more recognizable. The face of baseball is changing from an all-American sport to international the Sand Gnats case, nearly half of its roster adds a Latin flare.

"Language is a barrier at times. A ten minute meeting is 20 minutes because it's a double dialogue," said Skipper Tim Teufel.

The Sand Gnats major league affiliate New York Mets are doing their part to bridge the gap between the cultures by providing a Latin American translator at every site. That's where Guadalupe Jabalera comes in.

"I got the ability to speak a little English and Spanish, that's my original language. The reason they send me here is because they have a couple new players from the Dominican that don't speak English and they depend the people who can help them understand the manager," said Jabalera.

Catcher Francisco Pena can understand both the players and managers because of his unique upbringing in united states and the Dominican republic thanks to his dad, former Major Leaguer Tony Pena.

"Back in the Dominican we speak Spanish and back in the states we practiced both because you gotta be practicing English and Spanish because then you would've forgot," said the young slugger.

For the lucky few that are able to make the transition from Spanish to English is beneficial but for others it's not that easy.

"It's very difficult in the game and outside the game because we need to understand what the other people are saying, because if we don't know what they're talking we're going to be lost in the game. That's kinda what happened at the beginning of the season but now I think everybody is getting on the same page," said Shortstop Luis Rivera.

Many of the American players are getting a chance to learn Spanish but no matter how advanced they become, Pitcher Jeremy Mizell says he's quickly reminded that he still has a lot of learning to do.

"There are certain times when it gets awkward because somebody might get upset about something and they'll start speaking Spanish. There's time when they really get angry or mad about something, they're just speaking so fast that I can't understand it either way."

No matter what language a player speaks on the baseball diamond, the desire to win is universal.

Reported By: Tiffany Greene