"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Ozzie Guillen

Suspension Bridge

A fundamental tenet of communication theory is that because the purpose of communication is to transmit information, it is irreversible. There are no “take-backs.” Apologies for verbal or written foul-ups are hollow. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. We live in an era right now where companies and universities are doing background checks on prospective employees and students by scouring Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds and other social media activity. A regular person has nowhere to hide. Public figures are under much greater scrutiny.

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen learned that the hard way.

Not that he has ever hidden. He is no stranger to opening his mouth, inserting his foot, and still managing to demonstrate the capability to land in trouble. His latest misstep earned him a team-levied five-game suspension. The blogosphere and conservative baseball media population exploded. The first four words of Sean Gregory’s profile in Time Magazine are Guillen’s damning quote: “I love Fidel Castro.” He would go on to say he respected Castro’s survival skills, and that‘s what he loved about Castro. Communication is irreversible. No way to talk around that.

Guillen manned up. He didn’t put out a statement. He was contrite, apologizing to the Marlins and to the Cuban-American community that has helped make Miami the multicultural center it has become.

The aftermath and the analysis has been a series of contradictions. A combination of liberal versus conservative and wanting to have it both ways. The same people that in the past who have called Guillen “refreshing” for speaking unfiltered and disregarding the art of saying nothing, are now condemning him. Steven Goldman expresses his libertarian view at Bleacher Report:

…Those who are standing on the sidelines sniping and calling for suspensions and termination need to consider their own motives. Moral outrage is cheap when the target has been so spectacularly, in Guillen’s words, “dumb.” This is shooting Marlins in a barrel. It’s much harder to stake a stand on an issue that is in the grey zone, when others might snipe back at you.

He continued…

Let us be clear: There is a difference between suggesting the Marlins needed to suspend Guillen to appease the Cuban-American community and another to argue that the quality of his remarks themselves deserved suspension. The former is what political bloggers call “concern trolling,” posing as a helpful pal of some third party that really doesn’t need your advice, thanks. The latter is, first, un-American, not in terms of the Bill of Rights—this is not a First Amendment matter given that your employer can censor you in the workplace all they want—but that any call that encourages punishment for speaking one’s mind, no matter how offensive, should be antithetical to our very being.

Ken Rosenthal may have been one of those Goldman observed “standing on the sidelines sniping.” Monday, in his FOX Sports column, Rosenthal called for the Marlins to suspend Guillen. He wrote:

Good people make mistakes, and Guillen just made the biggest of his career. Chances are the matter will blow over; everything seems to blow over in this society of limited attention spans. But the Marlins shouldn’t allow it to blow over. No, the Marlins should take a stand.

Suspend Guillen.

Not because a protest group wants him out.

Because it’s the right thing to do.

There is outrage in Miami. There is outrage among the Latino community, not just the Cuban-American population in Miami. The juxtaposition of Guillen’s comments with the opening of the Marlins’ new stadium in Little Havana has much to do with that. Dave Zirin notes this in his latest piece at Edge of Sports.

Loria desperately needed a hot start for his team and some sugary sweet media coverage for his new ballpark. Then his new manager Ozzie Guillen decided to share his views about Cuba and Fidel Castro. … This issue is…now about whether the ire produced by Guillen’s words will be directed against Loria, his grab of public funds, and the entire Miami baseball operation. If that happens, this issue won’t die, but the Marlins might.

Keith Olbermann, speaking as a guest on Dan Patrick’s radio show, said that sports provide a forum for us, the public, to address sensitive social issues. That “sports are well ahead of the rest of society on these issues.”

The blog Platoon Advantage would beg to differ.

…It’s certainly understandable why the Marlins felt like they needed to react.

Though they didn’t feel the need to respond when team president David Samson called the people of Miami stupid. …There are dozens and dozens of equally or more foolish and offensive things done by Major League players, managers, coaches, front office types, and officials every year. And these offenses don’t get investigated by the Commissioner. These offenses don’t earn team-levied suspensions. These offenses don’t get noticed at all, despite the real damage they do to the communities where they happen. If we’re going to have such a low standard so as to punish Guillen for making a bad joke (make no mistake, there’s no way to honestly construe what Guillen said as a statement of support for Castro, his tactics, or his regime), where are the suspensions for everyone else who makes baseball look bad?

What can we learn from all the coverage? We know Guillen’s comments were wrongheaded on many levels. We know those comments will be available forever. We know that there is heavy criticism, much of it founded, much of it personal. We know that all of it is irreversible. And yet again, we learn that no matter how hard the general sports fan wishes politics and sports to be separated, they are inextricably linked.

[Photo Credit: Al Diaz and C.M. Guerrero/ Miami Herald]

Ramblin' Man

Ozzie is a good un.

Godding Up the God

Stanley Woodward would not approve, but that’s okay…I can’t resist.

Here’s Ozzie:

“I remember in the old park in the World Series, (Braves manager) Bobby Cox told me to pinch-hit against him. I said, ‘Pack it in. We’re going to be seeing a celebration. I ain’t going to get a hit,’” Guillen said. “And I know what’s coming. Everybody knows what’s coming.”

Guillen doesn’t believe there will ever be another closer like Rivera.

“There is nobody better than this guy. Nobody. Not Goose (Gossage), not (Lee) Smith, not (Trevor) Hoffman,” Guillen said. “That mold was made in Panama and they threw it in the ocean. They don’t make a closer like that ever (again). Nobody in the history of baseball is going to be like this guy, ever.”

Thank Heaven for Little Guillens

Thank the Baseball Gods for the Guillen family; in a cold quiet winter they bring us sparks and adventure. Yesterday White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s son Oney absolutely lit into former White Sox and current Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks on Twitter. Highlights are many, but include:

hahah memo to bobby jenks get a clue u drink to much and u have had marital problems hugeee ones and the sox stood behind u

they did not air out ur dirty laundry, u came to srping not drinking and then u sucked and started srinking again be a man

be a man and tell the manager or the coaching staff how u feel or the organization when u were with the sox not when u leave

u cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful

if it wasnt for u and mainly u freddy garcia would have like 17 wins and the sox would have beat the twins …

…oh and yes i remember clearly u blowing a hugee game in 09 and u laughing ur bearded ass off while everyone busting there tail…

…one little story remember when u couldnt handle ur drinking and u hit a poor arizona clubby in the face i do. and later u covered it wit

Im sorry thats ur answer to everything. How can u disrespect ur ex team like that

Uh, yikes. The comments from Jenks that brought this on were obnoxious, but fairly tame in comparison. He told reporters that he wanted “to play for a manager who trusts his relievers, regardless of what’s going on,” and said “Why would I come back to that negativity? I’m looking forward to playing for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen.” He also felt that the White Sox didn’t handle their decision not to re-sign him particularly well, which is debatable, but a common enough sentiment when teams and players part ways.

Jim Margalus of South Side Sox writes,

I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, of what Oney Guillen tweeted about Jenks was true. There were a couple of weird tongue-holding episodes at the end of the season; Jenks creating an uneasy scene by spitting on the clubhouse floor, Kenny Williams saying “there are certain things I’m not going to talk about right now.” To this point, Williams has resisted kicking Jenks out the door, but Oney seems to have filled in at least some of the blanks. None of it was necessary.

OK, nothing Guillen’s middle son does is necessary when it comes to White Sox Business, but this was bringing a grenade to a pillow fight. Jenks only criticized Ozzie the Manager, and that brings only Bobby the Pitcher into play. There’s lots of room for insult there. His attitude, his inconsistent performance, which may have been attributable to his inconsistent conditioning … pick one and hammer away if you please. That’s an eye for an eye, and all in a day’s work for these highly compensated professionals.

That would accomplish far more than taking private information and making it public.

This isn’t the first time Jenks’ personal issues went public; in Jerry Crasnick’s “License to Deal: A Season on the Run With a Maverick Baseball Agent”, Crasnick and Jenks’ former representative Matt Sosnick describe the pitcher as “an agent’s nightmare – the type of player who constantly tests management’s patience and rarely takes responsibility for his actions,” whose “drinking and capacity for self-destruction… soiled just about everything he touched,” a “reclamation project” who “couldn’t be reclaimed.” Ouch again.

I’m sure the Red Sox knew what they were getting into and if Jenks pitches well, as he has in the past, no one on the team or in the stands will care much about the guy’s flaws, whatever they might be. If he doesn’t, though, Boston is not a place where it takes very long for things to get ugly.

Anyway, Oney Guillen’s rant was clearly unprofessional and inappropriate, but in these days of corporate-speak, careful PR men, and dull canned quotes, I’ve gotta say I’m glad somebody is still able to go off the reservation like that.

Photo via Chicago Now

What Do You Think, We All Wear Uniforms?

I used to like the idea of Ozzie Guillen more than I actually liked Ozzie Guillen himself, but upon further consideration, I’ve changed my mind–I really like Ozzie Guillen. Doesn’t matter that I don’t like everything that comes out of his mouth. I like that he calls ‘em like he sees them. Ozzie is a bona fide character in the land of the canned-quote. He’s a reporter’s dream and a fan’s best friend, cause he never stops talking and always adds fuel to the fire. Most of the time, he just cracks me up. I’ve really enjoyed the bits I’ve seen of the MLB Reality Show about the White Sox.

Yanks are in Chicago for the weekend which means Ozzie is wearing bad-guy black for us. At least it won’t be dull.

AJ the Mysterious is on the hill tonight for the Bombers against ol’ Freddy Garcia. Fresh from the Lo-Hud Oven, here’s the line-up (Cliff does the rest):

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Ramiro Pena 3B

The Rays and Sox also play this weekend–who do you root for? Here’s hoping the Yanks take two-out-of-three.

Feels like the playoffs are starting now and will continue–even through a couple of series against the Blue Jays and especially Buck’s “New and Improved!” Orioles–until they officially begin in October.

Never mind the holiday, Let’s Go Yan-Kees!

Dig in:

Yankee Panky: Jay-vee Vazquez?

Javier Vazquez’s second turn in New York is going about as well as the last portion of his first. In other words, like the Brazilian soccer star, Kaká.

The 1-3 record and 9.00 ERA would be remotely permissible if Vazquez showed a certain level of aggression on the mound. He was booed in his first start at Yankee Stadium. We remember Game 7 in 2004 and much of the second half. We remember “Home Run Javy” and that 18 of the 33 home runs he allowed that year came with two strikes. And contrary to popular belief, there are many of us who remember that he completed at least six innings in all but three of his starts prior to July 1 of that year, and that he made the All-Star team.

But the lasting memory is that Johnny Damon grand slam in Game 7 that sealed the 3-0 ALCS choke. Following another debacle in Anaheim that saw him cough up a 3-0 lead and use his fastball sparingly over 3 2/3 innings, Vazquez was this week’s piñata. Craig Carton defended Yankee fans’ right to boo him when some got on the soap box and decried fan behavior (Hell, I booed him from my living room on Sunday). Mike Francesa said that Vazquez is “caught in a situation where he has to convince Yankee fans to believe in him, that he has the guts to succeed here, and that’s not a place you want to be in New York.” He also mentioned that Vazquez “expected to be booed” on Saturday.

The Onion, in its merciless way, included Vazquez in its lampoon of the “True Yankees” myth:

“To have Javier Vazquez don the same pinstripes as Mariano Rivera or Jorge Posada is…well, it’s unthinkable,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said as Curtis Granderson modeled the sterile, black-and-white uniform with a large, boxy, non-interlocking “NY” stitched across the front of the chest. “The untrue Yankees will wear a blank, unfitted ball cap until they have their big Yankee moment. They’ll wear their last names on the backs of their lesser uniforms as a badge of shame.”

(more…)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver