Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some Ozzie Guillen thoughts

I need to address the Ozzie Guillen suspension and hopefully in 5 games this will be history.

 First of all, how did Fidel Castro even come up in an interview?

 "So Ozzie, what do you think of Stanton's double tonight?" 
"It was good, but let's talk about the Bay of Pigs!"

Secondly, I don’t want anyone saying this is a free speech issue.

He’s not in trouble with the government.
He’s not going to jail for expressing his point of view.
He expressed his and the people protesting and boycotting are expressing theirs.

This is an issue about paying customers.

There is a big population of Miami who escaped Castro, related to those who escaped Castro or know people who are trying to escape Castro.
And a lot of those people are baseball fans.
Baseball is kind of sort of big in Cuba and with Cubans.
And the Marlins want those people who escaped Castro or know people who are trying to escape Castro to buy tickets.

The Marlins just spent a lot of money and are having good PR for the new stadium and the last thing they want is a chunk of paying customers turning their back on the team.

The team has been there since 1993 and have won as many World Series titles as the Indians in their history, the Cubs, Phillies and Mets in theirs.

And yet the Marlins haven’t been embraced by South Floridians. Now the team has a new ballpark, a new identity and are even calling themselves “Miami” now.

And the Honeymoon which was supposed to last all year didn’t even make it to Tax Day!

Is the image of the team on the news their crazy new ballpark? Nope. It is people holding up signs and protesting.

A team that has struggled for revenue and trying to get the community to embrace them shouldn't do things that cuts revenue and gets the community to shun them.

So a smart thing to do, especially this early in the season, is to take Guillen to the woodshed for PR purposes, win back those paying fans and the Marlins will be a winning streak away from this all being ancient history.

It's not free speech nor politics.

It is PR and box office.

It’s capitalism… something VERY un Castro like.

Finally, Ozzie, here’s some interview tips from your pal Sully.

You are a live wire and we love that about you.

Rip on former players, Cub fans, etc. It’s great!

 But think twice before saying things like "You what I respect about Castro..." or "The deal with blacks is..." or "Here's what's good about 9/11..." or "Hitler was right when..." or "Women just shouldn't..." etc.

Nobody is going to listen to anything after those words. And they aren't going to expect a nuanced argument. Let's face it. Subtlety isn't the Ozzie Guillen style.

Expect to get some backlash.

And if that backlash affects your employer’s bottom line, you will get in trouble.

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from responsibility.

Now sit out 5 games, say you are sorry and win some ballgames!

 Follow sullybaseball on Twitter


  1. That's the does Castro come up in a baseball interview!?!?
    Anyways, that part of the Cuban community over reacted. It was not Obama who said that, it was a baseball manager! not a politician. Who cares? That's why, although being Cuban, I will never live in Miami.

  2. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Well said. The idea that "free speech" does not mean "you can say anything you want in any situation and no one is allowed to object" seems a little too hard to grasp for a lot of people.

  3. Good thing Cespedes signed with the A's. :)

  4. What he said wasn't so bad. And any Cuban-American will tell you that the angry, activist population is actually a minority, and the majority often feel bullied by them.

    Also, this kind of IS a free speech issue. Free speech is a right (and nobody's violating Ozzie's rights). But free speech is also an essential American value. And that value seems to be getting less and less respect these days.

    What I'm saying is - you're wrong, Sully!

  5. You said it is a free speech issue then do not demonstrate how it is.

    You might as well say "This is an issue about cake."

    His free speech was limited because... (this is where you explain how his free speech was limited.)

  6. I didn't say his free speech was limited. I said it wasn't. I said, above "Nobody's violating Ozzie's rights."

    I said it was a free speech issue because Americans lately have been showing very little respect for free speech as a value (not a right).

    If you, Sully, chose to use the N-word a lot, you could do so without violating the law or anybody's rights. You wouldn't be violating the Civil Rights Act. But the essential American value of equality and respect - you'd sure as hell be violating that.

    Similarly, I object to the Marlins and MLB and the small-but-powerful Miami Cuban lobby behaving this way. I think it violates our value system when you try to make someone go away for something they said, especially if it's because of one errant comment, and it's been apologized for fully and completely. We should be better than that.

  7. What you wrote was a not a free speech issue.
    It was a "do you alienate your paying customers?" issue and "how does a team trying to be embraced by a city and a community want to handle public relations" issue.

    So nope. Not a free speech issue

  8. What did MLB do again?
    Oh yeah. Nothing.

    "I think it violates our value system"


    And are you in the Tea Party?

  9. This is my last explanation!

    Do you deny that people are much, much more likely to be materially punished for unpopular speech nowadays than they were in the 80's and 90's? If you denied that you'd be wrong, I think. If you don't want to say that's a "free speech issue," that's your business, but to me it is, because it hinges on what kind of speech we tolerate as a society (not as a matter of law).

    If you think Americans compelling each other to be punished for "wrong" speech is a good thing, that's fine. Not me. I think a civil society ratchets it down a little bit, accepts apologies, and gets on with their lives. And I think it's terrible when a small but vocal mob can terrorize businesses for pretty much no reason.

    If Ozzie genuinely espoused pro-Castro views or refused to apologize, that'd be one thing. He didn't.

    By the way, the planned protest at Marlins Park never materialized yesterday. And when Ozzie's face filed the big screen, nobody booed. Because most fans, even Cuban fans, don't really give a shit about this. They just want a good baseball team. And the Marlins and MLB (who said they supported the suspension) ended up caving because they are a bunch of pussies.

    Why does this matter at all? Because the more we let it be okay, the more that we all have to fear speaking (or writing) our minds in public lest we put our jobs in jeopardy. This atmosphere is way more toxic than it ever was, and it makes me worry about MY jobs, some of which involve speaking, as you know.

    So this is not theoretical to me. It involves how freely I can speak and write and not risk losing my job(s). And again, that line has changed, and changed noticeably, in the past decade or so. I literally get memos about things that used to be okay to say that no longer are. We live in a much more repressive, less tolerant society.

  10. "If you don't want to say that's a "free speech issue," that's your business, but to me it is"

    And yet you fail to demonstrate why it is despite several attempts. Or perhaps you don't understand what freedom of speech means.

    It means the government can not arrest you or detain you simply for having an opinion and for expressing it in a lawful manner.

    And you have agreed with me that this is the case.

    Now you may think that Ozzie is getting a raw deal.
    That is your opinion. You are free to express that.

    But nobody's freedom of speech has come within 743,193 miles of being interfered with.

    "If you think Americans compelling each other to be punished for "wrong" speech is a good thing, that's fine."

    Never said that.
    Ozzie has the right to say what he said.
    The protesters have the right to say what they say.
    The team has the right to say "Ozzie, we are paying you a lot and expecting a lot and don't want anything that will give the team bad press or hurt our box office."

    And that's all that is happening.

    "If Ozzie genuinely espoused pro-Castro views or refused to apologize, that'd be one thing. He didn't."

    I know. And yet he did something that in terms of public relations was stupid... and the team is correcting that. Nothing more.

    "And when Ozzie's face filed the big screen, nobody booed. Because most fans, even Cuban fans, don't really give a shit about this. "

    And guess what? Because the Marlins acted quickly and because Ozzie acted quickly IT WENT AWAY QUICKLY!

    So it sounds like you and I agree that they handled it smartly.

    ", the more that we all have to fear speaking (or writing) our minds in public lest we put our jobs in jeopardy."

    If you say stuff that hurts the bottom line of your employer, you will get fired in most cases.

    Please tell me you understand that.

    "We live in a much more repressive, less tolerant society."

    I don't agree. AT ALL.
    But that's my free speech to say that.

    Thanks for reading the blog.

  11. Last word:

    I think our media climate has become much more hostile to people speaking their minds. I think it's because of the Internet, partly, which amplifies angry people, and partly due to big media consolidation. And partly due to our increasingly angry, politically divided country (which in turn is partly caused by the two above factors).

    But ask anyone who works in the business of journalism and they will tell you that the "Gotcha" mentality and subsequent Outrage Machine has gotten out of control. Seriously. Ask someone. They will tell you that.

    And all I'm saying is that it makes more a much more repressive atmosphere.

    And all repression is not government repression. Which is why I can correctly say that the super-sensitive, constantly angry culture we've created makes people increasingly scared to speak their minds.

    They worry that they can't speak freely anymore. Not without facing consequences that they previously wouldn't have faced. Because much stupider stuff can "hurt the bottom line" of people's employers than ever before.

  12. You've lasted on this subject longer than the suspension.

    Guillen spoke his mind
    The fans who showed up spoke their mind
    The Marlins felt it would be smart to take this story out of the news.
    And here we are, mid April and it is in the rear view mirror.

    It's no more a free speech issue than me apologizing to my wife for something I didn't do because I felt it was best to move on.

    The American way of life will survive with Guillen thinking "OK, maybe I won't bring up Castro in interviews."

    Thanks for reading the blog.
    Let's concentrate on baseball instead of stories that don't have to do with freedom of speech

  13. I am looking forward to your third "Last Post."

  14. pretty well said my dear blogger and I could not agree more on that actually, you and I think alike on this matter