Following protests by Cuban Americans, the main target of the Marlins’ multi-million dollar marketing efforts, Guillen apologized for his stupidity and begged for another chance last week during a news conference to announce his team-imposed five-game suspension. Miami politicians called for Guillen’s firing; Marlins President David Samson said that was never considered.
The Marlins — who open a three-game series Friday in Washington against the Nationals — gave Guillen a fat contract (he reportedly makes more than $2.5 million per season) and the World Series-winning, Venezuelan-born field leader is a key figure in their plan to become the leading sports franchise in the Latin-dominated market. But the Marlins had to take disciplinary action against Guillen, whose speak-first, think-later approach repeatedly failed him in his former job guiding the Chicago White Sox.
For eight years on Chicago’s South Side, Guillen was second to none in Major League Baseball at providing “he-said-what?” quotes. Guillen, and White Sox management, regularly faced media and fan criticism for his array of dunderheaded remarks, including polarizing comments about gays and immigrants . Then five games into his Marlins tenure, Guillen experienced his biggest “uh-oh” moment in a career full of them.
Guillen’s return was much quieter than his exit.
The Marlins defeated the visiting Chicago Cubs to make Guillen a winner in his first game back and, most importantly for wary Marlins officials, there were no reported protests outside Marlins Park in Miami’s Little Havana. Before the game, Samson announced the franchise had not lost any sponsors over the flap.
The extent to which the Marlins may have suffered long-term damage because of Guillen’s poor judgment will become clearer in the coming weeks. Fans speak loudest with their wallets, and if they don’t push the turnstiles as expected, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will get the message – which could result in Guillen eventually getting the boot after igniting a stunning public relations crisis.
To the Cuban American community, Castro is the devil. He’s its version of Hitler.
Many would argue that Hitler’s atrocities were far worse than what Castro has committed during his 50-plus years in power less than 230 miles from Miami. I would never try to rank them. That’s an unnecessary argument.