Ozzie Guillen's Regretful Comment Sparks Controversy

Ozzie Guillen is in the news once again for speaking without thinking.  I'm not sure if there is another person in baseball that has suffered from the effects of foot-in-mouth syndrome to the extent that Guillen has over the course of his managerial career.  Players and fans love him because he speaks his mind and wears his heart on his sleeve but he also says the stupidest things sometimes, leaving fans and critics alike to ponder how long he'll be able to survive as a public representative of Major League Baseball.  Guillen has burnt bridges with people at every level in and around the game of baseball; owners, General Managers, umpires, players and members of the media have all felt the effects of Ozzie's oft ill-timed public remarks so his chances of landing a job after he is done with the Marlins are probably pretty slim unless he wins a championship or changes his attitude.  The latter seems to be a long-shot (you can't take the fight out of the dog) while the former seems to hinge upon his ability to keep a job in Miami amidst a growing wave of protests and criticism.

The latest Guillen FUBAR surrounds comments he made for a recent Time Magazine article.  In those comments, he said that he loves Fidel Castro and admires the dictator for spending nearly 60 years in power despite everyone hating him.  For some, the comments may seem tame compared to some of the things Guillen has said but for Cubans, who liken Castro to Adolf Hitler, the comments are reprehensible in any context.  On one hand, I think I understand what Guillen was aiming for with his comments (bear with me).  In many ways, Guillen is sort of like Fidel... there are a lot of people that would love to see him go down in flames and he certainly expects things to be done his way.  To that extent, maybe Guillen was trying to convey to readers that he feels misunderstood.  Maybe I'm completely wrong with that assessment but I'm fairly sure that Guillen was not sympathizing with Castro's philosophies and actions as a tyrannical dictator.  The foreign-born Latin-American manager can probably sympathize with the Cubans better than most and I'm certain that the statement he made wasn't in support of Castro's doctrine of oppression.  Ozzie is saying that things got lost in translation; I'm saying that he clearly didn't see the harm in using a hated dictator as an analogy.  I truly think that this was an honest mistake that has been blown out of proportion, however, it is clear that this was not the result the Marlins were looking for when they hired the colorful Latin-American manager.  They were hoping to find someone that the Latin-American community could connect with; instead, they got a manager that just drove a huge wedge between their franchise and its target market.  I'm not sure if Ozzie can survive this wave of turmoil.  Under different circumstances, it probably wouldn't be as big of an issue but given the money that the franchise has invested in the new look Marlins, I'm not sure they can afford to stand idle with the restless townsfolk standing outside with burning pitchforks.


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