When you think about the development of a minor league ballplayer, it probably looks involves hitting, fielding and throwing.
But there’s another part of development more important than you might think.
"Whatever you learn here is going to be help for the future," Silver Hawks outfielder Ender Inciarte said.
They come from Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic -- even New York City -- meeting several times a week in the Silver Hawks press box.
For English class.
"If you were dropped into Russia and had to speak that - you spoke English and you couldn't speak Russian - how would you do that?” asked Linda Wawrzyniak, who teaches the class. "It can be so scary. Especially when you're 19 to 23, 24."
The Silver Hawks -- or more accurately, their major league affiliate the Diamondbacks -- started providing the classes a few years ago. They consider it a critical part of minor league development.
"There are four skills in English -- reading, writing, listening and speaking. We really tend to work on speaking - and listening - because in baseball they have to listen to coaches and speak to teammates,” Wawrzyniak said. “We want to help them make it to the majors. I mean, that's their goal."
They'll tell you, even as recently as five years ago, the path for Latin American players to reach the majors was much more difficult.
"There were a lot of guys that, the coach talked to them, and they don't even know, ‘hey, what is he saying?’” Silver Hawks outfielder Roberto Rodriguez said. “And it was kind of harder for them to do what they have been told.
"We are very lucky guys.”
Added Inciarte, “Soon as you can talk English, you can talk with the coaches, you don't need a translator. I can talk to my hitting coach all the time, I talk to my manager."
Rodriguez says, "I think this is one of the best tools that we have, here as Latin players. Because it will help us in the game of baseball, but it will help us in anything here. Because it's not just for now, it's for our future."
Consider this: These guys are living in a strange country, far from family and friends, playing ball at a high enough level that it's their job, all while learning what is not exactly the easiest language to pick up. Doing one of those things would be difficult enough. They're doing all three, at the same time.
"They're amazing,” Wawrzyniak said. “They really are. I have such respect. I never knew what it took, and I've learned so much. I'm just amazed by them. I really am. I think more people should know what really happens behind the scenes because they are really hard workers. And they're inspiring."
And to think, they're still developing.