Krauss: Latino players welcome baseball reporter who ‘speaks the same language’

From Jennifer Krauss at the New York Times on April 2, 2017:

The first time Fernando Salas, a relief pitcher from Mexico, spoke with reporters after the Mets acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels at the end of August, he gamely tried English, which he is still learning, and was roundly applauded for his efforts.

“Afterward, he and I made small talk in Spanish to get to know each other,” says James Wagner, a New York Times baseball writer who had recently left The Washington Post. “I, too, was new to New York, having moved to the city earlier that summer to cover the Mets.”

Mr. Salas’s pregnant wife was back in California, and he was surrounded by new faces in the midst of a heated playoff race. Plus, though he didn’t want to admit it, Mr. Salas was confused by the complicated rules surrounding his late-season trade after the “nonwaiver” deadline.

“A day or two later, he called me over to his locker when I was in the clubhouse before a game,” Mr. Wagner recalls. “ ‘How was it exactly that the Mets acquired me?’ he asked sheepishly. ‘Am I eligible for the playoffs?’ ”

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Originally published: April 3, 2017. Last Updated: April 3, 2017.