NEW YORK – Boston Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy apologized Wednesday for his on-air remarks a night earlier that pitchers such as Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka shouldn’t be allowed to have translators on the mound.
During the NESN broadcast of the Boston-New York game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, Remy said pitchers such as the Japanese-born Tanaka should “learn baseball language.”
“Last night, during the course of the Red Sox-Yankees game I made some comments that offended a number of people in our audience,” Remy said at the start of Wednesday’s telecast. “I would like to apologize to my colleagues at NESN, to the Boston Red Sox and most importantly to the fans who were offended by the comments. I sincerely hope you accept my apologies.”
His comments Tuesday quickly drew sharp criticism on social media, with some saying there isn’t one universal language for baseball. Remy apologized on Twitter earlier in the day, and the Red Sox and NESN released statements distancing themselves from Remy’s remarks.
“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,” NESN said.
Said the Red Sox: “We do not share the views expressed by Jerry Remy during last night’s broadcast.”
Tanaka said he wasn’t sure why Remy made his comments.
“Little nuances could get lost in the process of trying to communicate, especially when you don’t know the language,” Tanaka said through a translator.
His translator, Shingo Horie, did not want to comment beyond saying he felt the same way as Tanaka.
Remy has been a popular Red Sox television analyst since 1988. He was a Boston infielder for seven seasons and is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame.
In 2013, Major League Baseball adopted a rule that permitted interpreters to join mound conferences. That same season, Red Sox relievers Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa each used translators on the team’s run to the World Series championship.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he wished he would have been able to have a translator on the mound during his time as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-10, when he worked with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.
“We were able to have the interpreter in bullpen sessions,” Farrell said.
Farrell said he learned Japanese for single words, objects and numbers.
“But when you start talking concepts, let’s face it, communication with players is priority No. 1,” he said. “So to be clear, the interpreter is needed.”
Remy’s comments Tuesday night came hours after Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, a longtime Phillies third baseman, said in a radio interview that Philadelphia outfielder Odubel Herrera’s language barrier “would make it difficult” for him to be a team leader. Herrera is from Venezuela and conducts his interviews with English-speaking media in Spanish, through a translator.
Herrera said after the Phillies’ game in Atlanta that Schmidt had called him to apologize for his remarks.
In the fourth inning of the Red Sox-Yankees game, Tanaka was visited on the mound by Horie and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
“I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said at the time, telling play-by-play man Dave O’Brien, “I really don’t.
“Learn baseball language. You know, learn, it’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time,” Remy said.
O’Brien answered: “I would say that probably, you know, they’re concerned about nuance being lost in some of these conversations.”
As he left the broadcast booth after Boston’s 5-4 win, Remy said he had nothing more to say on the subject.
“I’ve got no comment on that. Really,” he said.
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