My mouth gets me in hot water every day. That’s the way I am. No one’s going to change me. And I never regretted anything I said. Never. A lot of people say that I don’t think when I speak. Of course I do. But I’ll say stuff in a different way with different people … If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. I don’t care. The people I care about are my boss and my players. The fans and the media don’t win games for me. — Ozzie Guillen, Men’s Health, 2006
Five games into his managerial tenure with the Miami Marlins and Ozzie Guillen is again under fire. Please don’t act surprised. What, did you believe a change of scenery would produce a calming effect on Guillen? You certainly didn’t think his new $10 million deal would buy Ozzie a new persona, did you?
This is the same Ozzie Guillen who, as a rookie manager of the Chicago White Sox (eight years ago), suggested his team drown their frustrations in alcohol after a loss; the same Ozzie Guillen who blasted Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jay Mariotti in 2006 saying, “What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag;” the same Ozzie Guillen who bullied umpires on Twitter after being ejected from a game last year; the same Ozzie Guillen who praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro – in 2008 and 2012.
When asked, “Who’s the toughest man you know?” Guillen told Men’s Health magazine, “Fidel Castro. He’s a bull—- dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power. Still has a country behind him. Everywhere he goes, they roll out the red carpet. I don’t admire his philosophy; I admire him.’’
Wait, wasn’t Guillen just suspended for five games by Major League Baseball for something he said about Castro in Time Magazine? Yes. Guillen told Time, “I love Fidel Castro … I respect Fidel Castro.”
Four years and two cities seperate Guillen’s compliments of Castro. While his feelings haven’t changed, the reaction has. In 2008, Guillen was managing Chicago. Do you think the people living on the southside of Chicago care what Guillen thinks of Castro? Not likely. Now, four years later and 800 miles South, the same man makes the same comments and is thrust into the national conversation. In 2008, Major League Baseball never so much as blinked when Guillen opened his mouth. In 2012, in Miami, the name Castro has new meaning, new consequences.
Are you familiar with the old saying, “You stepped in it?” People say that about someone who behaves inappropriately or says something stupid. That’s what Ozzie Guillen did, only he didn’t “step in it” but rather dove in head first.
He will spend the remainder of the week under suspension, but will it make a difference? Don’t bet on it. Sure Guillen faced the music (and Miami residents) and apologized for his comments, sure he apologized to management, to fans, to the team, to the Latino and Cuban communities, but surely Guillen will speak before thinking again because this is who Guillen is. History tells us so … again … and again … and again.