April 9th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Ozzie Guillen to fly home to Miami to address Fidel Castro backlash

Ozzie Guillen has a knack for controversial statements and it's easy to treat his bombast as Ozzie being Ozzie, but his latest words on his respect for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro aren't going away - not in Miami.

Guillen, who took over the Miami Marlins this season after eight years with the Chicago White Sox, announced he was flying back to Miami after the Phillies game tonight to hold a press conference about the remarks, according to The Miami Herald.

“I was planning to do something Friday, but (Tuesday) we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face-to-face,” Guillen told the paper. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball-club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

He said he hasn't been able to sleep for three days because of the controversy and he wanted to speak to the media and people of Miami in person, rather than via a statement.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. ... Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen sparked the firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said in the article. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there."

A group of Cuban-Americans threatened to march on the stadium Tuesday and boycott the Marlins until they fired the Guillen, Yahoo Sports reported.

The manager said he has apologized to Cuban-Americans in the Marlins organization, including Spanish-language broadcasters Felo Ramirez and Yiki Quintana, as well as Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras, ESPN reported.

The Marlins released a statement saying there was nothing to respect about Castro, "a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship, and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."

Guillen backtracked on the remark yesterday and apologized to anyone he offended with the Castro remark, telling the Palm Beach Post that he is "against everything, 100%," regarding Castro's reign in Cuba.

Elaborating on his use of the term, "respect," he said, "I respect (President) Obama, I respect (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez because I always respect people."
Perhaps lost in the controversy were Guillen's remarks late last week that for a quarter century or more he has gotten drunk and gone to sleep after every game.

"I've got my routine. Game's over, stay in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel bar, get drunk and go to sleep," he told the Palm Beach Post.

"I get drunk because I'm happy because we won or get drunk because I'm very sad and disturbed because we lose. Same routine for 25, 28 years. It hasn't changed. I don't like to go out."

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Filed under: Baseball • Cuba • Fidel Castro • Florida • Protest • Sports • U.S. • World
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. citizen

    Bay of pigs, Cuban missile crisis, America as Camelot, a rum running father, an alpha male putting his rod in his staff, ruminations of a shining city on a hill. A kinder gentler machine gun hand, as Neil Young would say.
    And now a vulgar manager. So what? If you wait long enough regiems change simply because the old commies and socialists die off.
    Even that doesn't matter because human nature stays the same. Baseball will require stream of conscience comments be walked back for the sake of marketing.
    Teaching by object lesson subordinates emotion to reason. So drink when you're happy and drink when you're sad. In fact drink to the foam, here's wishing you happy voyage home.
    Send lawyers, guns and money . The end is near. Israel is in dire peril and with no real space program to keep us flying high the US inches closer to civil war.
    No really. Nobody talking about the structural changes needed to save God's green earth. It's all a bunch of fake hooey crap like this story.
    Hoard food, water and duck tape. The sky IS falling.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      It appears you forgot to take your medications today....

      April 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ? ? ?

    Mary are you being rude, crude, and socially unacceptable again? Mmmmms opinion is every bit as valid as yours, and maybe more so!

    April 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Ozzie is Ozzie.
    Anyone who has ever heard him speak knows that he frequently says things incorrectly; he means something completely differently.
    Probably meant "hey, the old fart is still around, when so many people have tried to whack him. Wow."
    Ozzie being Ozzie, he mangled the English language again.

    He is nothing if not entertaining.
    If one thinks he respects Castro so much, why, in the same sentence, would he call him a sonofa in the same breath?

    Use some common sense. It was an of the cuff remark, and the reporter decided to use it in Time for shock value.
    I don't expect better from Ozzie, because he is what he is, but I DO expect better from Time Magazine...

    April 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    And it totally breaks my heart to see Ozzie in Marlin's garb...
    I am so used to seeing him in my beloved White Sox gear.....

    April 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Who cares about Ozzie, the Cubans in Miami (People, not cigars) or Fidel... This is not news... Move on...

    April 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. paul

    every time this clown opens his mouth he shows his ignorance. can't say anything without using the f word. what a loser.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Angie

    The Cubans in the US and in the island deserve better, this foolish statement by Mr. Guillen only shows how 'forgiving' people are towards leftist dictatorships. He is only sorry now because Cubans have made Miami the vibrant and prosperous city it is today, this will affect his pocketbook and could possibly lose his job.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DL

    I watched Ozzie daily come up as a rookie shortstop for the Chicago White Sox from spring training on. Nobody and I mean nobody loved baseball more, exhibited as much enthusiasm for the game and would do anything and everything to rally on his teammates to win.
    And I figured Ozzie's love for baseball and the White Sox would continue when he stepped up to manage. I think he was a good manager who made abrasive comments in Chicago in order to spark a fire under his team to fight. Ozzie is all about winning and success.
    But having attended the University of Miami and understanding a bit about the proud Cuban community (I'm not Cuban by the way), Ozzie really dug his grave with this latest stunt.
    I dont know how in the world he's going to wiggle out of this one and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't able to. It's really sad he couldn't keep his mouth shut on this issue.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David Crosby

    How in the World do a small handful of right wing zealots that supported a terrible dictator ( Batista) get so much play..The Cuban exile's have run too much of our foreign policy for too long..Go Ozzie..Cut loose the Cubans in Florida..They are NOT loyal Americans...

    April 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. walkthetalk

    Open mouth, insert foot. Sad that you are even coaching. What a joke.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DL

    Some of these comments are pretty ignorant..
    .I hope Ozzie keeps it short and to the point at the press conference. If he starts rambling on he'll say something even more damaging without realizing it and subsequently be on the next flight out of Miami.
    I believe the Cuban community has a right to be outraged.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sayitstr8r

      n brainer – the guy admits he's a drunk, so, why take it seriously when he talks about dictators? what is he, a politician? he's a baseball guy with a drinking problem.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. DL

    I would add watching Ozzie and the Marlins try to mend this fence with the local community could be one of the more entertaining MLB press conferences of the year. I'll watch it.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tcaros

    This is the typical problem with Latino ego, especially when Latinos have success at something. They become proud, overbearing, and say stupid things.
    He's a nincompoop, but he can't help it.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeNY

      Stupidity transcends race, I guess the number of times we've heard Caucasian politicians say dumb things, to you, it's just typical but if a Latino says it it's just his/her ego? yikes !!

      April 10, 2012 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
    • kiclay

      Raceism nice, so by your logic all white people are like John Rocker.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. lgwelsh1

    If Ozzie is smart he will keep it short and to the point. Apologize, say he is an idoit and then shut up. If he rambles on like we all know he loves to do, he will just make the situation worse.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. go ozzie go

    Like him, or hate him – at least he speaks the truth (as he sees it) not some full of s*#@ person with no soul. Cut him some slack, just a ballplayer / manager who ties one on...lol, good guy.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
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