Ozzie Being Ozzie, Offends Miami Fanbase

Posted: April 10, 2012 by Kodi in MLB

Ozzie Guillen is already in hot water in Miami after making some controversial remarks about Fidel Castro

Guillen couldn’t have picked a worse team to be managing while making such remarks

but does Ozzie really deserve all this bad media coverage and a 5 game suspension?

Ozzie Guillen is one of the most colorful figures in sports and unlike players this 1985 Rookie of the Year is in a position of power managing a Major League Baseball team. Guillen’s playing days ended in 2000 but in 2004 he was hired as the Manager of the Chicago White Sox a team he spent 13 of his 16 seasons with in his career. Ozzie Guillen had a tumultuous relationship with the Chicago media but despite Ozzie’s tendency to fly off the handle and brutal honesty he helped the Sox win a World Series and continue the franchises’ success. In the offseason the White Sox decided that they have had enough of Guillen’s blunders and ramblings by shipping him off to the Miami Marlins.

The situation in Miami looked to be a perfect place for the Venezuelan born Manager taking the bench in a city where Latin Americans are the majority not the minority. It would be hard to imagine Guillen stepping in front of the Chicago media and conducting his entire press conference in Spanish but in Miami the public wouldn’t bat an eye. The geographical placement of Ozzie’s new job places him as closer to the Caribbean and Latin America than any other MLB team. The Marlins organization thought that bringing in a Manager like Guillen would boost their team’s popularity but after Ozzie’s political gaffe the fish have been thrown on the barbeque and are feeling the heat.

Guillen is known to shoot from the hip, a no non-sense, give it to you how it is kind of guy. His character is what makes him such a great player’s manager but he has troubles keeping his foot out of his mouth. The Miami Marlins and everyone in their front office should know about Guillen’s past antics and should have prepared for such a character. You think that being in Miami and having such a volatile relationship between Cuban refugees and their defector country would warn Guillen about this potentially explosive situation.  It might be plausible that somebody would explain to Guillen that talking positively about Cuba and its current or former dictators would adversely affect both his job security and the team’s popularity. If the Marlins organization felt that Ozzie should have “known better” are just as irresponsible as he is for being so naïve.

It was the opening week of the 2012 season and Guillen’s job was to win games and captivate a new Latin following in Dade County where the public just funded a new stadium. Maybe Guillen got confused about his historical figures but he couldn’t have had a more terrible answer to “who is the toughest guy you know?” than Fidel Castro. The Time magazine reporter who asked the question was in no way attempting to put Guillen in a box, Ozzie volunteered the controversial remark. “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son-of-a-bitch is still here.” Guillen didn’t stop there, “He’s a bullshit dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power. Still has a country behind him. Everywhere he goes they roll out the red carpet. I don’t admire his philosophy. I admire him.”

I don’t know if Ozzie was talking to Elian Gonzalez or the 62% of Dade County that is Latin American, half of which are Cuban but Guillen immediately realized that he “hurt a lot of people.”. Guillen flew back to Miami from Philadelphia during the team’s day off so that he could address the media and “people can see my eyes and ask every question they want to ask.” Ozzie arrived to his press conference in a somber mood, clearly this situation had been affecting his demeanor. He started it all off by addressing the packed conference room in Spanish “I’m sorry that I hurt a city, a country. I hurt the community without any intention. But I did it. Not only Cuban Americans, but all the people outside the United States . . . I feel like I betrayed my Latin community.” He would continue to field questions in both Spanish and English for nearly twenty minutes.

The apology was heartfelt and clearly Guillen did not intend to piss off his entire fan base before the 4th game of the season. There was however excuses laced into the answers to the media’s questions and Guillen said that his words were taken out of context during the translation from Spanish to English, something the Latin community could understand. Is that really how Ozzie is going to back away from this situation? He does have a tendency to stir the pot and then walking away. In 2005 after winning the World Series Guillen returned to his home country of Venezuela and appeared on Hugo Chavez’s radio show praising the President. Guillen returned to the United States to earn his citizenship in 2006 and denouncing Chavez but his patriotism will always be questioned after refusing to appear at the White House with his team.

Ozzie Guillen is the self-proclaimed “Charlie Sheen of baseball, without the drugs and a prostitute” but right now he is definitely not #Winning. He’s in more trouble than when he told an Ump that he was a “pimple on your daddy’s ass” or when he told a radio guy to “shut the fuck up” or called Jay Mariotti a “fag.” Mariotti has been a staunch opponent of Guillen and said that “if someone in charge doesn’t muzzle Ozzie Guillen with duct tape, inject him with a horse tranquilizer or simply order him to shut the fuck up – his favorite expression not mine – the man is going to talk himself out of a job and shame the city and ballclub he represents.” Guillen will be suspended for 5 games without pay for the comments he made about Fidel Castro but will the city give him a second chance?

For all the outlandish things that have come out of Ozzie Guillen’s mouth he has not been suspended for his character, until now. Guillen is outspoken and everyone that follows baseball, or beisbol, knows what Ozzie is capable of when he starts talking. When you look at what was said it’s hard to make up an excuse which is probably why Ozzie took the route of blaming a translation error. I am going to go in a different direction. It’s hard to come up with an excuse because there is NO NEED for an apology. Yes he said something that challenged the views of a lot of people in his community, an area that is relied upon filling the seats to pay for a new stadium.

It is true that there are a lot of Cubans in Miami, I mean there’s an area called Little Havana for heaven’s sake but how many of those Cubans lived through Castro’s atrocities. Fidel is no longer in power after his brother Raul took his place a few years ago but the dictator will forever be a symbol of Cuba. Castro did some terrible things and hurt a lot of families livelihood but those Cuban/Cuban-Americans that have had their lives impacted by Fidel are getting older. The young Cuban’s that have been born in America do not have the same spite and animosity that their parents or grandparents generations may have for Castro and Guillen may become the beneficiary of those emotions or lack thereof.

Another reason that Ozzie Guillen shouldn’t need an excuse for what he said is that there are very few men that are tougher than Fidel Castro. The question was a simple one: “Who is the toughest guy you can think of?” A revolutionary dictator that spoiled numerous assassination attempts, standing toe-to-toe with one of the most powerful countries in history while living to tell about it? That’s pretty effin’ tough! Yes, it was the worst answer possible and Ozzie should have answered with some phony remark like Simon Bolivar but even then he would have been scrutinized. Guillen is caught in a difficult situation and there doesn’t seem to be a firm answer for him to win back the city of Miami. The fact of the matter is that Ozzie Guillen, nor any other sport’s figure, should be asked about politics there just isn’t any need for the fans to hear those people’s opinions on those matters.


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