No need for MLB to get involved regarding Guillen’s Castro comments

Did I just say that?!?

Ozzie Guillen has a big mouth. He’s loud, obnoxious, and tends to insert his foot into that mouth often. It’s one of the reasons he bolted out from the South Side to South Beach. However, Ozzie’s a winner and the fact that he brought the White Sox and the city of Chicago its first World Series in over 80 years proves that fact. If you haven’t heard, Ozzie Guillen made some rather unfortunate remarks regarding former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (newsflash: he’s no longer in charge of Cuba). Guillen quickly realized his comments were rather dumb and made it appeared that he was giving glowing praise to the man that helped send so many Cubans fleeing for Miami and freedom in the United States.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria–who brought in Guillen to help build support among the Cuban-American population of Miami–must be smacking his head against the desk in his shiny new stadium over and over again. He must be livid at the man he hoped would build a massive fan base of Latinos in Miami. Let’s face it though, we all saw something like this coming.

Guillen apologized for his comments and was subsequently suspended five games by Major League Baseball the Miami Marlins, a suspension that he has no plans to appeal. Guillen understands he made a mistake and must realize that Loria fires managers for almost nothing. However, MLB the Marlins might be overstepping their ground a bit. I know, I know, Fidel Castro is an evil man who persecuted millions under his rule, and put an aggressive communist country only 90 miles from our shores, but this is a political battle that MLB/Marlins should avoid.

Cuba is a breeding ground for baseball talent, and even Castro himself is a huge baseball fan. Hell, if the embargo is ever lifted between the United States and Cuba, even more talent will start coming into the country and they won’t have to get around some tricky work visa problems. By suspending Guillen, you continue to vilify a nation and a leader who no longer represent a threat to the United States. It’s also–as Peter Gammons pointed out in a tweet earlier today–hypocritical of the league. MLB holds exhibition games in Venezuela, another country with a left wing tyrant that is almost universally hated in the United States.

If Ozzie Guillen had made similar comments about Hugo Chavez, would we be having this discussion? Unlikely. MLB has a vested interest in Venezuela. Some of the biggest stars in the game are from there, and it too is a breeding ground for future MLB players.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

It’s clear that Bud Selig and MLB want the Marlins to thrive in Miami. For that to happen, they need the Cuban-American population to embrace the team and attend games. Baseball is a business after all, and I get that. However, you need to be fair in your policies, and this is one time that the punishment may not fit the crime and if it’s the policy of MLB to punish those that might say they like a former dictator of a communist country, then be fair and make sure you don’t play games in countries like Venezuela and suspend anyone who might show support for any other tyrant.

Apply the rules to everyone or don’t apply them at all, it’s that simple. If the media we have today existed during World War II, can you imagine the fire storm that would rain down on what folks would say? Eeek.

The best thing for MLB to do is to stay out of politics. Local, national, international, whatever. Sometimes MLB is right to get involved in politics–namely integrating the game when integration wasn’t exactly accepted in the United States–but this is different and an unnecessary issue.

Let Ozzie be Ozzie. The Marlins have done enough to generate buzz for themselves. From the hiring of Guillen, to big free agent signings, an outrageous and very South Florida logo, and especially that monstrosity in center field they don’t need anymore publicity.

With that said, I can’t wait to hear what Ozzie Guillen says next.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by melissajourney on April 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I thought the Marlins suspended him, not MLB, but that Bud Selig was like, yeah that’s cool. I think that makes more sense since the Marlins have a huge financial interest in keeping the Cuban-American population in Miami happy. I don’t necessarily agree with the decision to suspend him, but you’re right, Jeffrey Loria is ridiculous.


    • Either which way, this is not about politics and all about the Marlins wanting to bring in Cuban-American baseball fans. I wonder how they would’ve reacted had he said the same thing about Hugo Chavez? It’s sad political pandering. A fine and apology, or heck, even just the apology would suffice. When you hire Ozzie Guillen, you set yourself up for this type of behavior.


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