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Missoula Osprey interpret the game

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It’s a familiar sound that echoes through Ogren Park. The crack of the bat. And the Portuguese speaking outfielder Gabriel Maciel has a shadow following him around during batting practice.

“It’s like having an older brother” says Maciel

Peter Bransfield is that shadow and older brother. The Princeton graduate is Maciel’s portal into the English world.

“I’ll help order food for him, or help him pay is cell phone bill, things like that. So I am always a resource for him.” Bransfield says. 

Bransfield is something that every professional team needs now on their staff… a translator. Nearly 50% of the Osprey’s roster is made up of foreign players.

“It’s nice for them to have someone who is still a staff member, but maybe not as much of an authority figure as a coach that they maybe feel less intimidated talking to.” Bransfield says.

Communication is crucial on the field, but many clubs are now realizing the importance of integrating them into American society. So twice a week in the ballpark, class is in session with language teacher Cennetta Wasik.

“The different denominations of money, and what they all mean. Obviously we focus a lot on baseball, baseball terms, and how to understand what the coaches are asking of them” says Wasik.

Wasik says that we often don’t realize how simple tasks can be hard when you don’t know the language. 

“I’ve noticed when they are in line at Subway, and they don’t understand, and they point out what they want.” Wasik says.

In his first year with the Osprey, Maciel did not have a translator. But with Peter by his side this season, Maciel’s batting average is 71 points higher, and he has twice the amount of RBIs. And while he is learning something new every day, Maciel’s teammates have taken his English education in their own hands. 

“He feels its the best way for him to learn English is to just joke around with these guys. It’s the easiest way to learn it.” Bransfield says.

“And nothing that would be appropriate for this interview” Maciel says with a laugh.

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