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From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 <at> panix.com>
Subject: Miami Marlins manager in hot water for comments about Fidel Castro
Newsgroups: gmane.politics.marxism.marxmail
Date: Monday 9th April 2012 20:20:39 UTC (over 6 years ago)
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 From the latest Time Magazine:

Outrageous Ozzie Guillen makes the Marlins the talk of baseball
The Culture | Sports

"I love Fidel Castro," Blurts Ozzie Guillen, the new manager of 
the Miami Marlins, in his Jupiter, Fla., spring-training office 
before an early-March team workout. During a typically 
stream-of-consciousness Ozzie oratory, he has covered some 
favorite topics, such as his passion for bullfighting ("You're 
giving the animal an opportunity to kill you"), disdain for sports 
shrinks ("You're 4 for 4, you don't need psychology. You're 0 for 
4, you need a f---ing guy to get you ready to play?") and the 
benefits of brutal honesty ("I told my wife, 'I don't like the 
perfume you're wearing.' She was mad, but meanwhile, I don't have 
to sleep with her every night and smell that s---").

Now he is riffing on politics. And yes, the new jefe of the Miami 
baseball team, which will start playing in a sleek new stadium in 
the Cuban community of Little Havana on April 4, just professed 
his adoration of the leader reviled by his new neighbors.

After a second of reflection, the most unfiltered figure in 
baseball, if not sports, wants a do-over. "I respect Fidel 
Castro," says Guillen, a Venezuela native who also says he 
respects Hugo Chávez. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted 
to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother------ 
is still here."

The profane, unpredictable clubhouse raconteur whose bilingual 
Twitter ramblings have spawned over 200,000 cult followers now 
runs a club that has spawned a massive amount of indifference 
since joining the majors almost 20 years ago. The Florida--now 
rebranded Miami--Marlins played in a cavernous football stadium 
before a smattering of spectators and usually spent peanuts on 
players. That the team has won two world championships, one during 
a rare payroll splurge in 1997, after which former owner Wayne 
Huizenga gutted the team, is an affront to baseball purists. Loyal 
Cubbies followers have suffered more than 100 years, and that team 
in teal has already tasted glory? Twice?

The arrival of the mouthy Guillen--and $191 million worth of 
premier free agents--has made the Marlins the talk of baseball. 
Besides spending $10 million for Guillen, who in 2005 managed the 
Chicago White Sox to their first World Series win in 88 years, 
Miami spent big for Jose Reyes, the dynamic New York Mets leadoff 
hitter who won the N.L. batting title last season; Mark Buehrle, 
Guillen's former ace in Chicago; and All-Star closer Heath Bell 
from San Diego. "New uniform, new stadium, new look, new manager," 
says Bell. "We're sexy." (The rotund Bell, who loves his beer and 
bowling, is decidedly not.)

The Marlins, now owned by art dealer Jeffrey Loria, are 
betting--mostly with taxpayer money--that the team's new 
retractable-roof stadium can generate enough revenue to pay for 
top players for years. Many citizens of recession-racked Miami are 
outraged, though, over the public spending for the new ballpark, a 
palatial spaceship plunked in the middle of a poor neighborhood 
that will cost Miami-Dade County some $2.4 billion in debt 
payments over 40 years. (The Marlins were profitable in 2008 and 
'09, earning a total of $33.3 million those years, according to 
financial statements obtained by the sports site Deadspin.) Thanks 
in part to the stadium controversy, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos 
Alvarez was recalled by voters in March of last year. The 
Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the deal. 
"It's a tragedy for taxpayers," says Norman Braman, a billionaire 
Miami car dealer who unsuccessfully sued to stop the ballpark plan.

The Marlins apologize for nothing. "We are in business to make 
money," says David Samson, the Marlins' president and Loria's 
stepson. And apparently not to risk too much of it. He points out 
the prior owners sold the team after failing to win a stadium 
deal. "Everyone could have built it with their own money. But you 
don't do that."

In sports, winning tends to quiet such political disputes. Miami 
is stocked with talent for a serious run. But will the Marlins 
warm to Guillen's no-nonsense approach, which wore down White Sox 
players and management by the end of his eight-year tenure in the 
Windy City? "There were a fair amount of people who weren't a fan 
of playing for him," says Buehrle. "But to hear your manager say 
'You sucked last night,' not just 'Hey, hang in there, kid'--I 
kind of enjoy it."

Ozzie is rough not just on his players. A few years ago, he told 
his mother, who still lives in Venezuela, to stop asking him for 
money. "What do you think I am, an ATM?" he said. Unlike Buehrle, 
Mom didn't appreciate the tough talk. "She didn't take it too 
well," Guillen says.

He doesn't mind if you dislike him. Just don't assume his 
lifestyle is as wild as his vocabulary. "People think I'm crazy," 
Guillen says. "People think that when I leave the ballpark, I go 
to bars, I go to the discotheque--boom, boom--they're going to see 
me with my shirt off, dancing." He stands up behind his desk and 
starts to shimmy. "No. I'm very, very opposite," he says. One 
favorite form of entertainment: shopping with his wife at Bed, 
Bath and Beyond.

O.K., Ozzie, you're a family man off the field. But you're giving 
us reason to watch the Marlins? Now that's crazy talk.

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