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When a Baseball Manager Goes Haywire

The team formerly known as the Florida Marlins used to have a big apathy problem. Now they’re known as the Miami Marlins and they’ve traded their issues of fan indifference and poor attendance for another problem- fan hatred.

When he isn’t issuing homophobic slurs, revealing he gets drunk after every game, or decorating the clubhouse with sex dolls, Marlin’s Manager, Ozzie Guillen, is working overtime to anger entire cities. When your team is based in Miami and you build a new stadium with public funds pretty much in the middle of little Havana, probably the last thing you want to do is give an interview in which you tell Time magazine you love Fidel Castro. But that’s exactly where he went.

Can you even imagine heading up the Marlin’s public relations office right now? Guillen has been suspended for five games, has held a tear-drenched news conference and has done everything but flog himself in the town square- but it changes nothing. Damage done. And the anti-Fidel/anti-Guillen protests continue outside the Marlin’s beautiful new stadium.

I have been thinking of hypothetical examples that would compare to the sheer tone-deafness of Guillen’s remarks. Here are some sample headlines:

Detroit Tigers Manager Lashes Out at American Auto Industry- Praises Japanese Car Manufacturers

Cardinals Manager Insults Augustus Busch, Reveals Hatred for Beer, Calls St. Louis Arch an Eyesore

Texas Rangers Manager Disses Davey Crocket- Claims Loss at Alamo No Big Deal

Philadelphia Phillies Skipper Bans Hoagies and Cheese Steak Sandwiches from Clubhouse- Declares Cheese-Wiz Nutritionally Toxic

You catch my drift.

I’m thinking Guillen does not make it to next week.

He has, however, added tremendous value to a certain baseball that I have displayed in a collection in my apartment. Back when he was a utility infielder for the Atlanta Braves more than a decade ago, Guillen was tossing ball with Chipper Jones at Turner Field before the game. My then 7-year-old son, Charlie, and I happened to be sitting in some box seats next to the field. Bless his heart, Ozzie tossed Charlie the ball and I had him autograph it.

And it wasn’t his only good deed that day. He tossed lots of kids balls, even handed one youngster a souvenir bat. I always admired him for the kindness he showered on those kids that day. I feel sorry for the guy, really, I do. But he has only himself to blame for his thoroughly bizarre, self-inflicted wound.

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