New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is apparently a legendary trash talker -- in Spanish. The Wall Street Journal's Brad Lefton reported on Ichiro's Spanish-speaking skills recently:
Ramon Santiago, the veteran shortstop of the Cincinnati Reds, recalls being startled and amused during his first encounter with Ichiro Suzuki in 2003. Santiago was barely into his first full season with Detroit when Ichiro's Mariners came to town. After a leadoff single to open the game, Ichiro dashed to second on a steal. As he popped up safely from his slide, he looked at Santiago and deadpanned in Spanish, "No corro casi."
Loosely translated, he was telling Santiago, a native of the Dominican Republic, "I don't have my legs today." Before Santiago could stop smiling, Ichiro was stealing third two pitches later on those same heavy legs.
"I knew he always spoke through an interpreter," Santiago said recently. "And that was for English, so of course I never imagined he could speak such nice Spanish."
Veteran first baseman Carlos Pena remembered one of his frequent encounters with Ichiro. He was defending first for the Tampa Bay Rays, and Ichiro had just arrived on one of his patented infield hits. Ichiro peered over at Pena and asked, "Que coño tu mira?," or, "What the hell are you looking at?" Pena clamped his lips together to prevent the laughter from bursting through.
Ichiro told Lefton he feels like he has a special bond with Latin American players, because they share the status of being foreigners in a new country playing the same game. There was also a plus to learning Spanish for which he can't use his native Japanese.
"We don't really have curse words in Japanese, so I like the fact that the Western languages allow me to say things that I otherwise can't," Ichiro said.
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