|Guillen’s Fidel Castro comments have caused irreparable damage|
|Written by Logan Zimmerman, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Wednesday, 11 April 2012 19:21|
The Miami Marlins were hoping to make a big splash this season with a change in location and a new ballpark, but the one-man circus that is Ozzie Guillen has stolen the show once again.
After walking the tightrope during his time with the White Sox, Guillen has finally gone too far after praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro during an interview with Time magazine.
The 48-year-old Venezuelan native went as far as to say he loved the man some Cubans have donned the “Cuban Hitler,” and he also respected the dictator for staying in power for over 50 years.
Guillen received a five game suspension from the Marlins for his comments about the Cuban dictator, but his time off will never account for the damages he caused to both the Marlins organization and the Cuban community in Florida.
Like all Americans, Guillen, who became a U.S. citizen in 2006, has a right to free speech, but the Miami Marlins team is a business, not a democracy.
The franchise moved to Miami and built a new stadium in Little Havana specifically to establish a competitive and profitable team, and Guillen was supposed to represent the icing on the cake for the ball club with his carefree personality and strong ties to the Latino community.
However, his once desired carefree personality turned into a careless nightmare, as it caused permanent damage between Guillen and the largest Cuban-American community in the U.S.
Some fans and members of the community have even demanded that the manager resign or for the Marlins to fire him as over 100 protestors gathered outside of Miami’s new stadium before Guillen’s press conference on Tuesday.
Regardless of the extent of the punishment, the instant outcries against the manger and his praise for Castro will only hurt the growth of the team, and attendance numbers and ticket sales are expected to drop due to the incident.
Guillen’s comments and beliefs about Castro may also prevent quality Cuban players from signing with the Marlins in the future, which could limit the team as more quality players continue to defect from Cuba for the majors.
Without the necessary players to bring in a consistent fan base, the Marlins will not be able to accomplish the goal of competing at a high level while increasing profits.
In his defense, Guillen did insist that his comments about Castro were misinterpreted in English, and he flew to Miami on the team’s day off to hold a press conference about his comments.
Guillen also conducted the press conference without any written notes, and he even answered all questions from the media honestly as he tried to control his emotions.
But fans have forgiven Guillen too many times in the past for his goofy antics and broken-English tirades, and this is not Guillen’s first controversial instance involving a high-profile political figure.
Guillen has also had ties to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and he even appeared on his funded radio show multiple times after the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. In the past he has also said he likes Chavez, but he has denied all support for him since gaining American citizenship.
As unique as Guillen may seem, he still possesses the skills to successfully manage a competitive team, but his careless political comments continue to tarnish his reputation while negatively affecting those around him.
Even if his five game suspension prevents him from managing about three percent of his team’s regular season games, the Cuban community will never have the same respect and acceptance of the manager that they once called one of their own.