I started out my career in baseball as an intern for the Seattle Mariners at the age of 16. The next season they had ball girl try outs and I made it! I was the new ball snatcher. I made headlines when I became the first ball girl to dive for a foul ball. I was highlighted on FOX's This Week in Baseball, Univision, CBS Day & Date, ESPN, CNN, KIRO's On Deck Show, and other networks and print publications for my plays on the field and for my baseball artwork, which I donate to various charities and got officially licensed for it by the MLBPA at the age of 19. I have my own sport art business and my art has been displayed at the Legends of the Game museum in TX and the Yogi Berra Museum in NY. I worked for the M's for seven seasons and had the opportunity to get to know all of the main departments of the front office from marketing to public relations. I went on to work for the Red Sox in their Dominican Republic baseball academy as their English teacher. Inspired by my work there, I developed and created a complete career development education program for international players called "Keep Your Eyes in the Ball". This program turned the Red Sox into pioneers in the area of international player development in the area of transition to their careers in the states. I teach the players everything including, American laws, life skills, customs, English, baseball terminology, etiquette, money management, basic nutrition, media and fan relations, literacy, and more. I went on to work for the Orioles and was even recruited by the New York Yankees. My title for the Red Sox was coordinator of player education and with the Orioles, international liaison and instructor of english and cultural literacy. I came back home to complete my college education and returned to the Mariners to work with their major league Latin American players, including their new Cuban star, Yuniesky Betancourt. Interestingly, I was Felix Hernandez's brother's teacher with the Orioles as well. Some players you might recognize that were students of mine include; Anibal Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Daniel Cabrera, Wilfredo Ledezma, Ed Rogers, Tony Blanco, Eddy Rodriguez, Franklin Francisco, and Jorge De La Rosa.

My Orioles Class Documentary - Part One

My Sports Art

Friday, September 2, 2005

My most recent baseball job - international player tutor and liaison

Yuniesky continues to excel in the class. His progress and confidence is beginning to grow and it is showing in his enthusiasm to put what he learns to use. On one occasion after just learning advanced greetings, Rick Rizzs ran into him and asked “how you doin’ Yuniesky?” Where he used to respond “fine” or “good,” Yuniesky started to responded by saying “Good--”, then stopped himself, and answered with “Very well thank you....and you??” Rick was clearly impressed and responded with “very well! and my, that’s great English!” Yuniesky was all smiles.
One day Yuniesky brought in a team memorandum that was left in his locker. In class, he skimmed through it and underlined all the words he now knew. He even read the first sentence and translated it without any help, except for the term “to head out,” which I explained is another way to say “to go out.” He was surprised with the amount of words he identified and went over the memo and attempting to gather the meaning from it. He was excited to be able to look at the memo again after going over it again and learning just a few new vocabulary words that it was telling him about the season ticket holders coming in early to watch batting practice. He later commented that after that, memos no longer seem so intimidating and impossible to comprehend. Through this lesson I was teaching him how to read for meaning instead of just trying to understand every single word which can be a daunting task.
He demonstrates courtesy more and more in his English as well. He likes the phrase, “after you.” Where he used to say “okay” when someone asked him for something, he now prefers to say “sure!” or “of course!”
In our daily baseball talks, he has learned to talk about his game using complete phrases vs. just words when he started out. For example, in the beginning, he would say “one pitch, fly, center field.” Now he can say, “First inning and first at bat, second pitch, fly to centerfield.” He can also talk about his goals in the game. In his journal in the lessons he wrote “I want to hit my first home run this season tonight.” He also wrote “Wait for my pitch.” That night he hit a double to deep left field that almost left the park.

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