Elly De La Cruz

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz may have more raw talent than any MLB player, and he’s now added another tool to his arsenal — English.

The 22-year-old phenom, a native of the Dominican Republic, conducted his entire press conference in English for the first time Thursday. He was justifiably proud of his accomplishment.

“It’s so important for me, because now you guys are going to understand what I say,” De La Cruz said. “It’s important for the fans to understand me, and me understand the fans. I’ve put a lot of work on my English to talk with you guys.”

So how did his first untranslated presser go?

“I think I’m doing a good job. That’s what I think, I don’t know,” De La Cruz said, as a couple of reporters chimed in to agree with him.

The Reds star said there’s no secret to learning the language. He just practices every day, and his teammates are eager to help.

“I practice every day, talking with the other guys … I like talking with American guys, because I create confidence,” De La Cruz said.

De La Cruz’s breakthrough coincidentally comes just more than a week after the Los Angeles Dodgers fired Shohei Ohtani’s translator amid allegations of “massive theft” and illegal gambling. That scandal has cast a cloud over the start of the 2024 season, but it’s also caused people to take a closer look at the role translators play for athletes.

The phrase “Lost in Translation” is more than just an old Bill Murray movie title, it’s a very real danger for athletes who rely on translators to help them navigate their business affairs. De La Cruz is helping not only reporters and fans with his new language proficiency, he’s helping himself.

Fans and sports media were impressed with not only De La Cruz’s language skills, but in the hard work it took him to get there.

Jill Gearin, voice of the Charleston Dirty Birds minor league team, noted, “Anyone who works closely with baseball players knows how special of a moment this is. Interviewing a player for their first full English recorded interview is always a highlight of my season.”


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.