Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is on the hottest of hot seats in major league baseball currently and the regular season isn’t even a week old. After opening a new $515 million dollar stadium, spending millions of dollars that the franchise might or might not have on free agents in the offseason, Ozzie Guillen might have opened his mouth and undone all the goodwill the franchise created in the offseason.
Guillen, a Venezuelan, told Time magazine in a recent interview that he respects Fidel Castro for staying in power so long. That comment might have gone unnoticed when Guillen was in Chicago, or perhaps if he was managing in Cleveland, Denver or Seattle this season, but it didn’t fly well in Miami.
Guillen is managing a baseball team in the one city where sympathetic comments supporting Fidel Castro and his communist regime will not hold water and the backlash is just beginning. The Marlins ownership has to be cringing. The Marlins fought long and hard for a new stadium, finally being rewarded with a 35,000 seat monument on the site of the old Orange Bowl, right around the corner of 8th Avenue, known locally as Calle Ocho.
Guillen’s comments have drawn so much ire that he is going to leave Philadelphia, where the Marlins are currently playing a series with the Phillies, and return to Miami tomorrow in order to address the media in regards to his comments. It might be a little too late in the eyes of many.
Joe Martinez, chairman of the Miami-Dade County board of commissioners is calling for Guillen to be fired.
Francis Suarez, City of Miami Commission Chairman is calling for him to be fired. “Mr. Guillen’s admiration for a dictator who has destroyed the lives of so many and who has violated the basic human rights of millions is shameful. On behalf of many andry residents, I’m calling for real action to be taken and for the removal of Mr. Guillen,” said Suarez.
Florida State Senator Rene Garcia, who is also the chairman of the Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus made the follwing comment. “If the Miami Marlins are to be respected in this community, your organization must stand with the Cuban-American exiled community and execute expedient punitive measures against Mr. Guillen which will rectify the situation.”
Guillen has already apologized for his comments, but he likely got the call from the front office demanding that he return to the Miami area and face the local media while the team is on a six game road trip. The Marlins ownership now finds all the work they have undertaken in the offseason with a tenuous fanbase undone in less than a week after opening their new stadium.
The Marlins stadium is taxpayer funded. 2012 is an election year on multiple levels in Florida. The Miami region houses the largest percentage of Cuban-American population in Florida. The Marlins ownership hired a hot-headed, shoot-from-the-lip manager in Guillen, what else did they expect? Perhaps the Marlins should have called Steve Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins in order to get some pointers on how to run a successful franchise. Oh, wait……………
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