If I had known then what I know now, I would have taken Spanish in high school instead of French. It is not that I remember any of the French (I failed the course), but there are very few — if any — professional ballplayers whose native language is Francais. Even a little Español would come in handy today in covering Major League Baseball or foreign players in Nihongo-land.

There are also increased opportunities for Spanish-language interpreters to help ease communication for the substantial number of Hispanic players in the major leagues and Japan. According to a recent article by Christopher Carelli in Sports Illustrated's The Cauldron, more than 28 percent of all Major League Baseball players are Latin American.

In the minor leagues, there have been estimates that as many as 40 percent of the players are Hispanic, and those younger guys are less likely to speak English because of their relative inexperience living in the U.S. or Canada.