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On Charlie Montoyo- Why speaking Spanish mattered

The hiring of Charlie Montoyo as the new Toronto Blue Jays Manager took many people by surprise.  In choosing Montoyo, Atkins and Shapiro were able to check off all the boxes on their shopping list.

Charlie Montoyo’s experience (and success) in developing young prospects was well known among the baseball community.  His deep understanding of the use of advanced analytics and metrics for both player assessment and game-decisions makes him a kind of renaissance man for the club.  He is even considered to be an early mentor to Vlad Guerrero‘s and likely contributed to his success in the majors.

However, Montoyo brings something else to the table, something Atkins and Shapiro made very clear they were looking for in their selection; he is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Having a Spanish speaking Manager in a league made up of almost 32% Latin players (it’s almost 50% in the minor leagues) is not something surprising.  Most clubs have very strong and prominent Spanish speaking resources at all levels of play.  Latin players also make up some of the biggest stars in the game.

For Atkins and Shapiro, finding Spanish speaking coaches doesn’t just stop with Montoyo.  The Jays recently posted jobs for Coaches/Managers at both the single A and Gulf Coast League levels.  Both roles require someone who will “analyze performance, observe and train players, travel with the team”. Both positions require fluency in Spanish.

It’s obvious that speaking Spanish is a huge advantage in communicating for a team with the likes of Lourdes Gurriel Jr and Vlad Guerrero Jr, both about to break in on a full-time basis.

But what does having a bilingual leader on the field add to the club?

The Telegraph (UK based newspaper) recently re-published findings from Anne Merritt, an English as a Foreign Language lecturer based in South Korea, on the benefits of speaking more than one language.

As Anne mentions, bilingual people:

  • Are better at multi-tasking
  • Have better memory
  • Are more perceptive
  • Have improved decision-making skills

All things being what they are, and with the already impressive resume of Charlie Montoyo, shouldn’t the Jays give themselves every advantage they can by selecting a Manager with these kinds of enhanced abilities?  Couldn’t the club benefit from these characteristics at the highest coaching level?

Next: Blue Jays: Pressure is on for Montoyo and Atkins

Time will tell, but it does make for a more interesting 2019 Season.


Tino Merianos (aka Coach T)

The entire Telegraph article can be found here

More from Anne Merritt can be found at


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