They say politics ain't beanbag; Marlins manager finds out why

Gordon Stewart
Gordon C. Stewart: The Marlins' fan base hates Fidel more than it loves the Marlins.
Submitted photo

The Rev. Gordon Stewart is pastor of Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska and a source in the Public Insight Network for MPR News.

Last week's news reported three high-profile personnel moves.

Arkansas football Coach Bobby Petrino was fired for "the decision to mislead the public."

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned. "Certain issues were brought to the [Best Buy] board's attention regarding Mr. Dunn's personal conduct ... and an audit committee investigation was initiated."

Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended five games. This is the one that's interesting.

Why was Guillen suspended five games?

Well ... he said something. And now, he says, "I'm on my knees to apologize." He was speaking at a news conference at the Marlins' new baseball stadium, which just opened in the Cuban-American neighborhood of Miami.

What did he say? Did he utter a string of profanity? Did he assault an umpire? Did he steal money? Was he having an affair with one of his players? Was he insubordinate to the front office? Well ... sort of the latter, maybe, in a roundabout way.

In an interview with Time magazine, he said something positive about the man Miami Cuban-Americans love to hate. He had outraged the very people the Miami Marlins owners are hoping will fill the seats of the new stadium:

"I love Fidel Castro. [Oops.] I respect Fidel Castro [Oops again], you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but [he] is still here."

Guillen is Venezuelan. Maybe he doesn't remember that it was Cuban expatriates from Miami who led the way into the Bay of Pigs disaster. (They tried to kill him; instead they helped bring the world to the edge of nuclear holocaust.) You don't get to say that, Ozzie. Your fan base loves to hate Fidel. It hates Fidel more than it loves the Miami Marlins, and more than it loves the Marlins' new Spanish-speaking manager.

Guillen has a history of sticking his foot in his mouth. That comes with the territory when you hire him. Now he's back-tracking, claiming the statement came out wrong because he wasn't speaking in Spanish. Time magazine stands by its story.

The Associated Press reported last week that "Guillen said the uproar he created has left him sad, embarrassed and feeling stupid. He said he accepted the team's punishment. 'When you're a sportsman, you shouldn't be involved in politics,' he said. 'I'm going to be a Miami guy for the rest of my life. I want to walk in the street with my head up and feel not this bad, the way I feel now.' "

Bobby Petrino and Brian Dunn have lost their jobs. Guillen still has his.

Given the history of the intended fan base of the Miami Marlins, if I were Ozzie, I think I'd take the first flight home to Venezuela. Before I became the Miami surrogate for the man the fans love to hate, and want to kill.

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