Rounding the Cultural Bases: a Qualitative Analysis of the Acculturation Experiences of Latin American-Born Minor League Baseball (MILB) Players

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This dissertation seeks to understand how Latino Minor League Baseball (MiLB) players acculturate to life in the United States (US) while playing in the US South. To better understand how they acculturate and what their transitions were like, 24 current MiLB players and one coach, who was also a former player, were interviewed. Questions were asked about their knowledge of English, when they began learning English, how they communicate with players and coaches from the US, and their cultural transitions. I found that knowing English is the most important way for players to acculturate to this new cultural environment. This dissertation also uncovered that their cultural transitions were overwhelmingly positive, mainly because they are in the midst of pursuing a lifelong dream. Lastly, this dissertation aimed to understand how the Latino players identify themselves while playing in the US. I found that these players embraced their Latino heritage and do not alter their identities to conform to the perceived dominant group of American players and coaches. Rather, the perceived dominant group in this sporting context are players who are English-proficient.

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