George Rose '88 translates his
way to a World Series Championship
By Jaime de Leon '01
Rose's playing career ended after high school, he never thought that he'd wear
a baseball uniform again, let alone the famed Yankee pinstripes. The idea of
being fitted for a World Series ring was ridiculous. But both scenarios have
come to pass in a highly unusual way.
Rose is the official translator for New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu. The
Garden City, N.Y., native, who grew up an ardent baseball fan, spent most of
1998 in the clubhouse at Yankee Stadium next to his new buddy, Irabu. The road
to the Bronx, however, was a bit circuitous, stretching from Worcester, Mass.,
to Japan, and back to New
Arriving at Holy Cross in the fall of 1984,
Rose wasn't exactly sure where he
was going or what he wanted to do. "I wasn't the most studious of students
at the Cross. That's not a reflection on the teachers, but more a reflection
of me at that time in my life," he said.
The decision to attend Holy Cross was made during an Open House weekend. Rose
said he simply "fell in love with the
campus." An English major, he studied with Professors Ed Callahan and Carolyn
Wall. But, ironically, it was not until after Holy Cross that Rose learned the
After college, Rose was undecided about a profession. He
ended up teaching in Brooklyn's public school system. But he felt restless and wanted to see more
of the world. So he decided to go away.
"I heard about a couple of friends I'd graduated with who had gone on this program
to Japan, the JET program," said Rose. The Japanese Exchange in Teaching
Programs gives recent college grads the
opportunity to teach in Japan.
After teaching for two years in a Japanese high school, Rose returned home bilingual.
He continued to teach in New York, and in the meantime worked at getting his
M.B.A. at Columbia University. With just one more semester left before he completed
the M.B.A., the Yankees
job became available. It was then that Holy Cross "came through big time."
One of Rose's Holy Cross friends, Pat McGrath '88, happened to know Pete Fluenza,
who had gone to college with then-Yankees assistant general manager Brian Cashman.
Rose interviewed with general manager Bob Watson and Cashman in November of last
year. Three months later, Watson had resigned, Cashman was the new general manager,
and Rose was offered the job. The next day, Rose was flown down to Legends Field
Tampa, Fla., the Yankees' spring training facility. On Feb. 14, Rose
was first introduced to Hideki Irabu.
If there was ever an ideal year to go to work for the Yankees, 1998 was it. The
Yankees won 125 games and became a model of team chemistry. Rose worked out and
practiced with Irabu on a daily basis and was the liaison between Irabu and pitching
coach Mel Stottlemyre, as well as the other Yankee coaches. Although he was not
able to travel to the mound with Stottlemyre, Rose was allowed to sit in the
clubhouse and talk with Irabu between innings. He also sat in the bullpen between
Irabu's starts and watched the other pitchers work.
"It's been fascinating being in the bullpen
this year and watching pitchers," said Rose. "They constantly have to adjust
and readjust their mechanics. Just seeing things like that and seeing them learn
new pitches from Mel, who used to pitch for the Yankees, has been
While the year was exciting, Rose is still interested
in returning to school to finish his M.B.A. degree. Also, Irabu is quickly learning
the language and,
in the near future, may not need an interpreter. Irabu already has
the quick wit that has helped him to fit in nicely with the Yankees. Rose tells
of a story
that took place during the beginning of spring training. The team
was doing aerobics when manager
Joe Torre called Hideki and him over.
"We're doing aerobics for all the players twice a week and they brought in an
aerobics instructor. I strongly suggest that Hideki take part in these aerobics
sessions," Torre told Rose. Rose
translated for Irabu and Irabu replied, "Tell him (Torre) I'd like to, but I
didn't bring my leotards."
Throughout the magical season that was 1998, Rose never lost sight of the fact
that he was lucky to have come across
his job, which he calls "the best job in New York City." He also never
lost sight of the fact that a Holy Cross connection is what got him
there. "I'm just always glad I went to Holy Cross," he said. "I feel like I got
a fine education there and I learned how to express myself clearly and how to
write well. I also think that Holy Cross instilled a strong faith in me. My relationship
with God is something that I take with me wherever I go, whatever situation I