Players from a high school baseball team in New Mexico were nearly ejected from a game last week after they started speaking to each other in Spanish.
The game, played last Tuesday, almost escalated into an “English-Only” spectacle after Gadsen High School baseball players used their native tongue to communicate with each other on the field against Alamogordo High School, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The Journal reports that first-base umpire Corey Jones, who did not respond to comment, told players and coaches that they could only speak English or else they would be ejected from the game.
An assistant coach for the Gadsden Panthers team, Emmanuel Burciaga, defended the players, saying there was nothing wrong with what they were doing.
“Our players will not stop speaking Spanish, and they will not be ejected,” he said.
As the situation escalated, the home plate umpire intervened – informing Jones that there were no rules against speaking Spanish on the field.
Jones apparently told Burciaga he was concerned with sportsmanship and could not keep track of it in Spanish since he did not know the language.
The home-plate umpire told Jones that he understood the language and he would keep track of what they were saying.
Burciaga shouted an instruction in Spanish later in the game but followed it up with an English translation, just in case.
Alamogordo won the game.
Gadsen plans to launch a formal complaint with the umpire this week.
The Gadsden High baseball team’s home base is near Las Cruces, N.M. in the town of Anthony. The same goes for their opponents from Alamogordo High located in Alamogordo, N.M.
According to the Journal, the Gadsden Independent School District in southern Doña Ana County is 97 percent Hispanic. Spanish is the language spoken at home for many students.
“This is how people communicate in this area,” Burciaga told the Journal. “Some English, some Spanish, some Spanglish. It’s how it is.”