The Miami Marlins manager was suspended for five games Tuesday after he told Time magazine, “I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”
We’ll never really know what Ozzie Guillen really meant when he expressed his feelings for Cuban President Fidel Castro in a Time magazine article.
The Miami Marlins manager was suspended for five games Tuesday after he told Time, “I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”
If Guillen was still managing in Chicago or anywhere else, this would probably be taken as Guillen being the mouthy man that he is, but that’s not the case at all. He’s the manager of a baseball team in a city where most of its population is Cuban, many of whom escaped from the island country to get away from Castro. And for Guillen to say he adores Castro and is impressed that the Cuban leader is still living should not have been said publicly.
Now I’m not saying Guillen shouldn’t have said what he said — he has every right to — but considering the community he works in, he should have kept his comments private. Baseball is struggling as it is in South Florida, and he, along with a new ballpark and a renamed organization with two World Series championships, was brought in to get people to come out and see the Marlins play the game that’s not only the national pastime here in the United States, but is also adored amongst Central and South America citizens. Even Castro himself was offered a contract by the Giants.
Because of Guillen’s comments, I won’t be surprised if the Marlins have to go into some sort of panic or survival mode just to keep fans interested in the ballclub, the new stadium and the game itself. I won’t be surprised if smaller crowds start coming out to Marlins Park because of this, and I won’t be surprised if the Marlins lower ticket prices, establish more promotions and do some special deals just so people continue to come and watch baseball. That new ballpark has a retractable roof, but Guillen has cast a cloud over that stadium that could do more damage than a threatening Florida hurricane or thunderstorm could ever do.
Guillen’s five-game suspension is a mere beating on the tush with his father’s belt. Yet that’s only the suspension handed down by the Marlins. It’s not clear if Major League Baseball will do anything about it — they should. Players get 50 games for using steroids because in the long run it looks bad for the game and keeps people from coming out to games. Similar suspensions should be in place for managers because a slip of the tongue — which Guillen says this was, but I have a hard time believing him — could also hurt the game and keep people from the ballpark.
Page 2 of 2 - Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post.