BOISE- As many people know, sports of all kinds are popular worldwide, especially the sport of baseball. That is the case in the minor league system of the major leagues, especially on the Boise Hawks team. The Hawks' roster boasts players from more than seven different countries. All of those countries mean a lot of different languages, which may make communication a bit tough. Not so, though, for the Hawks at the position of catcher.
Boise rookie Yaniel Cabezas plays a solid role in the Hawks offensive lineup, but it is what Cabezas does behind that plate that makes him invaluable to the club.
"Especially the way he calls a game the game back there," Hawks pitcher Ben Wells said. "I just follow him up there. He knows what he's doing."
Cabezas uses a solid game plan, and communication to give his pitchers an edge against the competition. Communication used to be an issue because Cabezas hails from Cuba, and came to Boise not knowing any English. Considering that over half his pitching staff speaks English, the 22-year-old had to adapt and pick up some of the lingo.
"Pretty much the basics" Cabezas said. "You know, how many outs, what inning, some things that are going to happen, if this guys going to bunt or something. Just basic stuff that I can just scream out to the whole infield."
If there is ever a communication problem that Cabezas and his pitcher can't work out, they turn to Kenny Socorro, part time translator, full time bi-lingual second baseman.
"If it doesn't happen, or they're not on the same page, then that's when they'll call me, and I'll translate for them the best that I can," Socorro said.
But most of the time the Hawks say that Cabezas and his pitchers have an understanding, because baseball is the same no matter what language you speak.
"A lot of times he might not be communicating through words," Socorro said. "But it will be through gestures, through movements. And that will help him communicate."
"Baseball language really does, he understands that," Wells said. "I mean it's pretty much all the same, whether it's fastball, curveball, slider. It's all the same."