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This is not the first time Ozzie Guillen voiced his admiration for Castro

Apr 10, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

Ozzie Guillen Getty Images

All politics is local. If it wasn’t, these comments Ozzie Guillen made in 2008 to Rick Telander in a Men’s Journal interview would have been pounced on then. But since Guillen was not representing Miami back then, Telander notes, it went virtually unnoticed:

I asked him this: “Who’s the toughest man you know?’’

His response, which took me by surprise: “Fidel Castro.’’

Why?

“He’s a bull—- dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power. Still has a country behind him,’’ Ozzie replied. “Everywhere he goes, they roll out the red carpet. I don’t admire his philosophy; I admire him.’’

It’s the same thing he said to Time. Maybe a bit more of a “don’t agree with his policies” disclaimer, but the same sentiment. And if he made it in Miami, boy howdy, would that have been trouble.

  1. Gordon - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    This story is becoming the Tebow of HBT (every other post about this topic).

    • ajcardsfan - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      You just spoiled HBT by saying The Holy Ones name! Next thing you know we’ll be referencing Manning…oh s***

    • dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      No, the next thing will be

      “YANKEES INTERESTED IN TEBOW TO BE NEXT DEREK JETER”

      Come on, Yankees, Tebow, there is money to be made there.

      • ajcardsfan - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Tebow is easily an outfielder with his arm, and if he can throw it, he can run it in to the pitcher.

  2. dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Hey Craig, can we please talk about something else. I feel like this horse has been beat to death. Hell, most of your front page is a different take on the same situation.

    We get it, he likes Castro, we was wrong to say it. Lets move on to something more Baseball…

    Lets talk more about Yu’s first start and his 1st inning of 42 pitches, lets talk about Cabrera ripping the cover off the ball, lets talk about Greinke’s Cy Young like opening game. Craig, baseball, not politics, baseball… lets get back to it.

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Agreed. this is pretty cut and dry stuff as far as I can tell. He works for a private enterprise, he insulted potential customers ( insult imagined or otherwise ), and that private enterprise can react accordingly based off of any module of customer service.

      Enough with the free speech angle ( he’s not getting locked up, the Amendment is satisfied )

      Enough with left/right squabble, if I wanted that i’d go visit Fox or MSNBC other than sports

      Let’s get back to the normal stuff, like Aquaman and the braves stinking the joint up.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      dlindstedt2, I get it, but if you want to talk about Yu’s first game why haven’t you?

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/09/yu-darvish-uneven-in-major-league-debut/

      • dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Who says, I have gotten around to it yet? The fact remains, you start the page, and you read, Ozzie said this, Ozzie apologizes for that, Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie…. Media spits what is hot and kicks it until it is dead. I am just trying to inform them, its dead, its been dead, the situation isn’t that deep. There is no angle to spin this. It is what it is.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM

        Okay, I wasn’t aware that your computer forces you to sit before it and click on stories you have no interest in, as opposed to say A Yu Darvish story that you’d just love to comment on.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        Where can I get one?

  3. 18thstreet - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    You should hear what he told the Economist about Starlin Castro. Just awful.

    • dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      I would love too, instead, I am force feed Ozzie Guillen in every other article. lol

      Hell, I am a Brewer fan, and I find the Cubs to be the worst team ever (no offense to Cubs fans, it was how I was raised), but at this moment, I would rather talk about the Cubs than Ozzie.

  4. cur68 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    This is going to stir up more trouble for Ozzie & I’m getting tired of it: there’s nothing really left field here. Its basically fact: we admire roaches for being hard to kill, don’t we? Same sentiment Ozzie’s putting out about Castro. Meh. Are there not more important stories in baseball today? I saw the best hitters of my team destroyed by Aceves, dang it. I want a story on THAT, please.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      So you admire roaches? The type with legs?

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        I admire the type found in certain ashtrays and plastic cigarette wrapping sealed via lighter

  5. wlschneider09 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Hey, even nutty megalomaniacs need role models.

  6. cubano76 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Hopefully Mr. Guillen will someday understand what Castro has done to families in Cuba AND the United States. Stay out of politics, and stick to baseball Mr. Guillen. You are in over your head.

  7. unlost1 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    All Ozzie has to say is he was trying to get on Fidel’s good side so he could get more Cuban baseball prospects in the future! Thumbs up!

  8. Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Nawww, let’s talk more about Ozzie and Macondo.

    I sat in my car parked on a side street with a clear view of the front of Macondo Banana Massacre Field while Ozzie said his peace. I had picked up some cafe con leche and a croqueta preparada sandwich for breakfast at a small Cuban cafe just down the street. As I wrote earlier, the area began filling up with television trucks and cops fairly early; by about 10AM the first of a small group of protesters began to show up – I would guess about 50-60, mostly middle aged to elderly, carrying Cuban and American flags. I counted nine flags in total. The cops kept this enthusiastic little band of duffers off to the south side of the plaza, away from the front doors of the stadium. There were definitely more media types than protesters, swarming over the protesters and also the curious bystanders, a few dozen or so, microphones and notepads handy. As Ozzie’s mea culpa progressed, which I absorbed through the benevolent dispensation of spawrts tawk raydeeo, the crowd began chanting and singing so I shut the car window to concentrate on Ozzie.The crowd of protesters, being there largely to hear the sounds of their own voices, weren’t especially interested in anything Slobbering Ozzie had to say and in fact had no idea what he was saying. He spoke entirely in Spanish until the reporters in the room began asking stupid questions, usually variations on the same one – “How do you really feel about Castro?” He then switched largely to English, clearly his preferred language for asking stupid questions, and patiently – for a while – continued to answer all these same stupid questions until his voice betrayed a hint of frustration about it late in the session. The gist of his post-prepared talk comments was, look, it was taken out of context, I never said I agreed with Castro’s philosophy, just was surprised that an asshole with that many enemies stayed alive this long. He said he’d do anything asked of him to support the local Cuban community, that Latinos all needed to stick together, that as a Macondo resident he lived with and among Cubans and was proud of that, and so forth. He sounded very emotional. I almost began to feel sorry for him – not because I’ve stopped thinking that he’s a buffoon and a nitwit, but because the magnitude of the anger being directed against him began to seem more and more absurd. I watched the protesters milling around the front of the building and heard the raydeeo nabobs reviewing the litany of inflammatory comments by our so-called political leaders, so anxious to soak up the transient benefits of tinpot demagoguery at the expense of the welfare and cohesiveness of the community as a whole. They began to make Ozzie look good, if not a little pathetic. But then, our Macondo politicians would make a nest of fire ants look good by comparison.

    People were starting to drift away by 11:30 AM or so, and as the K-shells of bystanders and reporters circling the nucleus of protesters began to dissipate, the demonstration was looking as small as it actually was. A few more tardy demonstrators with various lapel pins and small pennants occasionally drifted in, and a few drifted away. A couple of cops went back to their cruisers and left for coffee. The overcast seemed to dissipate with the crowd. The sun came out. Ozzie finished up and the pundits took over – Keith Olbermann, of all people, reminiscing about his good ole days at ESPN and making a few clarifying statements about the First Amerndment. Then the callers – overwhelmingly benign, indifferent or derisive of the brouhaha (Brouhaha? Hahahahaha….) and most voicing their desire to play baseball and get over it. It was a far cry from the vitriolic rhetoric of last night.

    Good coffee. Good sandwich. Pleasantly and interestingly spent afternoon, not nearly the bloodbath we thought it might be. Maybe this will all blow over, and we’ll wake up in five days still stuck with Slobbering Ozzie, perhaps even chastened to the point that he’ll be just plain Ozzie. I don’t know how I feel about that right now.

    • sdelmonte - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      Bravo. I knew we could count on you for some perspective.

      Hope you don’t mind that when I read this, I hear Charles Napier doing the voice-over for some reason.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Gator, I can’t believe you’d eat a croqueta preparada sandwich. That thing has to be as bad for you as horsemeat and velveeta… ;)

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Or a Philly Cheesesteak!

      • cur68 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Agreed. This is a gross disregard for his arteries and general constitution. I demand he be suspended form croqueta preparada for five (5) days.

      • Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        After eating this stuff for about 50 years I am immune, if not addicted, to Cuban food. Bill Haast, the founder of the Miami Serpentarium, was bitten by cobras so many times that he became all but immune to them too – like an old fat blonde kingsnake. So there are precedents. No Cuban with queso blanco at his disposal would be caught dead with Velveeta™.

        Anyway, I preface it by a half hour with a couple of capsules of Glucosulin, and chase it with a couple of caps of Sashona and a krill oil, resveratrol and Lipitor cocktail.

        Just in case.

    • skids003 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Thanks Old Gator. But you could’ve left out the remark about fat mouth Olbermann showing up to bore everyone with his rhetoric.

      • Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        He was well behaved this morning, as befitting a clown who’s just been bounced out on his ass yet again.

        Incidentally, some backlash seems to be setting in. Sports tawk raydeeo in the aftermath of the press conference was deluged with non-Cubans saying they were sick and tired of listening to Cubans whine and bellyache, that any idiot could see that Ozzie was just running his mouth and didn’t like Castro, that Cubans had ruined Macondo, and so forth. This has been followed this afternoon by a lot of Cubans calling in to breast-beat and call Slobbering Ozzie a communist and reject the opinions of those who can’t appreciate what they or their families have gone through, ad infinitum.

        I’m thinking of printing up a bumper sticker that reads KEEP MACONDO BALKANIZED.

  9. royalsfaninfargo - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Its true all politics are local, but being an idiot is universal.

  10. exhibits5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    hopefully the marlins will hire a manager that only speaks English

  11. keeroc15 - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Lots of people admire Castro. Unfortunately the tail that wags the dog in the US are descendents of the Cuban mafia who lost their casino holdings and other questionably obtained wealth when Castro took over. they moved to Miami got involved in right wing politics and now get to call the shots in Florida, a recognized swing state where any politician is afraid to say anything that might alienate a voter. Therefore we have this archaic embargo that only punishes innocent Cuban citizens and placates the right wing ex Cubans in Florida. Suspension of Ozzie for his comments is sheer insanity but of course that is where the right wing leads their followers. what a freakin joke.

  12. djpostl - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    If anything in that we see the ignorance of Ozzie. “They roll out the red carpet for him” and “he has a country behind him” are laughably moronic.

    He is a dictator you douche bag. Of course they roll it out, lest they end up in a political prison that makes Gitmo look like a Sandals resort for the next few decades.

  13. namriverrat69 - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Just as any other athlete who makes comments detrimental to the good of the team, here is another case. You represent an organization. Companies have the rights and company rules that employees abide by. In baseball you cannot criticize umpires. The same goes to football and basketball and hockey. The right to free speech is still there except the employee has the right to address an employor who, within his 1st ammendment rights, bashes a sponsor, officials, the team who pays the paychecks, The team reserves the right to take action against someone who embarrasses the team.

    Guillen has stange bedfellows. The last time Fidel Castro was friendly with the U.S. was probably when he accepted weapons from the U.S. to overthrow his predecessor a few years back. Who really cares what a bonehead like Ozzie Guilan says about anything non baseball.

    If he dislikes the U.S. so much and loves Cuba so much he can get a one way plane ticket and move there..

    • Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      Just like any other jingoistic knuckledragger who mouths platitudes detrimental to any semblance of Democracy, you belch sound bites about “freedom” and then consign anyone who disagrees with you to someplace else. Shoes for industry, compadre!

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