Carlos Beltranis entering his 19th season in the MLB and has long since grown accustomed to the life of a pro ball player in America. But starting out as an 18-year-old drafted out of Puerto Rico, this wasn't always the case.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News wrote earlier this week about the MLB's new mandate that all clubs employ full-time Spanish translators. For years, young players from Hispanic countries -- who made up 29.3 percent of players on 2015 Opening Day rosters -- have been at a major disadvantage in adapting to an entirely new setting. MLB's new rule will help to change that.
One of the heartbreaking tales in Feinsand's piece comes from Beltran, detailing the outfielder's upbringing in the Royals' minor league system.
During his first years in the Royals organization, the Puerto Rico product didn't know any English at all. He would go to the food court at a nearby mall and look for somebody eating something he liked.
"I would be on line and there were three people in front of me, so I would watch what they were ordering," Beltran said. "When it was my turn, if the person in front of me ordered something I liked, I would point and say, 'Same.' If they ordered something I didn't like, I would go to the back of the line and try again. I would sometimes go to the back of the line three or four times."
Beltran revealed that what finally helped him eventually master the language was a minor league teammate who was interested in learning Spanish. The pair helped each other, and now, Beltran is fully bilingual.
Already 15 years and three names later, AT&T Park remains the best place to watch a Major League Baseball game. Between the amazing food, packed-out stands and the glistening bay in right field, San Francisco is lucky to call it home.