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Stateside Podcast: ¡Vamos, Detroit Tigres!

Carlos Guillén with home game Spanish color commentator and former Tiger from the World Champion 1984 team, Barbaro Garbey.
Courtesy of Carlos Guillén
Carlos Guillén with home game Spanish color commentator and former Tiger from the World Champion 1984 team, Barbaro Garbey.

Baseball came into Carlos Guillén’s life by way of television broadcast. Growing up in Venezuela, Guillén was surrounded by an ardent zeal for baseball. Now, he’s channeled his passion into a career: he works as a bilingual media relations coordinator and a Spanish play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Tigers.

Courtesy of Carlos Guillén

Guillén has been working for the Tigers since early 2019. Over the years, he's worked to further incorporate Spanish into the Tigers’ broadcasts. For the first time in the team’s history, this season, the Tigers are broadcasting 22 select games in Spanish.

Guillén pointed out that Hispanic people make up the largest minority group in the U.S., and there are many baseball players who were born overseas and come from these communities.

“It's an opportunity for everybody to enjoy the game we love and to reach out to a community that is important within the country and also just to expand the world of baseball even more worldwide, starting from the basics, which is Spanish,” Guillén said in an interview on Stateside.

Guillén said that 24 out of 30 baseball teams offer Spanish broadcasts.

“And the numbers should be growing. Because we love baseball. We are an important community within U.S. society. We want to belong and we want you to enjoy the game as we do along with American citizens,” said Guillén.

To Guillén, color commentary in English is more focused on statistics and information than color commentary in Spanish is. In listening to color commentary in Spanish, “you will hear passion. You will hear passion because every pitch is important."

“In Spanish, we just enjoy the game. It's not that we're making jokes all the time and we don't pay attention to the game itself. We do, but we just take it more relaxing,” said Guillén.

With Detroit Tigers player Miguel Cabrara’s upcoming retirement, it’s an emotional season for baseball fans across the world — and especially for Tigers fans. Guillén remarked that the moment Cabrara retires will be “the moment in which I’m going to shut up” to make the sound of the standing ovation Cabrara will receive available to fans everywhere.

Carlos Guillén with away game color commentator Mari Montes.
Courtesy of Carlos Guillén
Carlos Guillén with away game color commentator Mari Montes.

Offering Spanish broadcasts opens the door for many Spanish speakers to experience baseball games as they did growing up. Guillén noted how special it is to enjoy a sport’s moment in your own language. These broadcasts also open the doors for people who are learning Spanish to further develop their comprehension and vocabulary.

Guillén said that he’s hopeful for upcoming seasons.

“Hopefully the number of games we’re going to broadcast next year is going to be bigger and we're going to keep growing and growing,” he stated.

Want to hear the broadcast in Spanish? If you’re in the Detroit area, you can find these broadcasts on 1270 AM. You can also tune in on the Audacy app in Michigan, and, no matter where you are in the world, they are available on the MLB App.

To hear more about Guillén and his work on these broadcasts, listen to the Stateside Podcast.

[Get Stateside on your phone: subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify today.]

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Olivia Mouradian recently graduated from the University of Michigan and joined the Stateside team as an intern in May 2023.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Radio in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the Summer of 2020.