file photo from WBEZ 91.5 FM: Miami Marlins former manager Ozzie Gullien trying to explain himself to the media why he said he loved Fidel Castro back in 2012 which forced him out of baseball
Ozzie Guillén Wants to Manage again
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
Ozzie Guillén, born in Venezuela,was the first Latino-born manager to win a World Series as skipper of the Chicago White Sox when his team swept the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series. Since then, Alex Cora,born in Puerto Rico managed the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018 over the Los Angeles Dodgers,becoming the second Latino manager to win the Fall Classic. Guillén is said to be looking for a job and return to the major leagues as a manager.
Guillén was also a very colorful player,a shortstop for 16 years with the White Sox,Orioles,Braves and Rays. Later he was a coach for the Expos and Marlins prior to managing the Chicago White Sox from 2004 to 2011. As a manager he posted a .513 winning percentage. Not short of controversy during his career. Always opinionated,he loves to talk,when he played and managed as he always had time for me and for an interview, I could roll tape forever,and many a times,I had to edit his interviews to make sure they fit the time I have on the broadcast.
In 2012 he told Time Magazine, “I love Fidel Castro” and that started a storm in Miami,a heavily Cuban populated city, Cubans who left their country because of Castro’s communist dictatorship. Later the Marlins issue a statement denouncing the Cuban dictator. Guillén was suspended five games and the fallout resulted with his ouster after the season. Marlins management at that time reported that attendance fell after those remarks and never recovered.
Jorge Ortíz, who was a writer for the US Today in 2012 called me and asked me about my opinion about what Guillén said,since I am Cuban-born and a broadcaster in the major leagues,below is part of his article:
“It’s like going to New York’s Jewish district and saying, ‘Hitler wasn’t so bad. He managed to stay in power for a few years,’ ” said veteran Spanish-language baseball announcer Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, who fled Cuba at age 17 and lived in Miami for five years. “Even a 9-year-old knows better than to say that in Miami. But I don’t think he’s really a fan of Castro or meant any harm. It’s just that he talks so much that sometimes he says things without thinking about them.”
I still feel the same way for Ozzie, a good man and a very good manager,I defended him then because here in the US we have the right to free speech, something that -by the way-still absent in Cuba for over six decades.
Ozzie GuilIén has not managed in the major leagues since 2012,he has been doing some television work and has kept-up with the game On February 2019 Guillén said “I want to manage again.“I know the game,I’m still close to it, so I see the game unfold. I watch the games now doing television and I’m still involved managing through the Venezuela Winter League.”
If not this season,I think we can expect the possibility of Guillén managing again,he would not mind going into the minor leagues to get the shot at managing again in the show. Talking with a lot of baseball fans,and recently during the Oakland Athletics Fanfest a couple of Venezuelan fans that know Guillén told me that he – Guillén (for sure) is still interested in the opportunity.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Museum, is the Spanish play by play voice of the Oakland A’s and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com