On Ozzie Guillen, Fidel Castro, and Baseball in Cuba

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Not heralded by Castro, however, was the plight of his players. The entire payroll for the Cuban national team was $2,400—yes, for the entire team. Each man on the roster of 20 players was paid a paltry $120 per year, just like everyone else in Cuba, from doctors to teachers to maintenance workers. That’s called equal distribution of wealth. By comparison, the Orioles payroll for that year was $80 million, with players like Albert Belle and Cal Ripken enjoying huge long-term contracts.

Alas, no one in Cuba has a payroll quite like Fidel Castro. At the time, Forbes magazine published its annual list of the world’s wealthiest leaders. Placing eighth was Castro at $110 million—a conservative estimate that doesn’t begin to account for the billions of dollars in land, industry, and resources he has personally confiscated.

“We fight not to create millionaires!” proclaimed Fidel. Well, that’s not quite true. Cuba has its share of filthy rich; they are the “one percent” of Communist Party cronies and apparatchiks, from Fidel’s brother Raul (Cuba’s current leader) to other corrupt mansion Marxists. They are typical of any communist regime.

Of course, Cubans painfully realize their horrible situation. Testimony to that was the reaction of the Cuban national team immediately after they defeated the Baltimore Orioles. Rigoberto Herrera Betancourt defected. And while a bragging Fidel chomped on a hundred-dollar cigar, six other members of the Cuban delegation “overslept” and missed the airplane home. All did this at great personal risk to themselves and the families they left behind. They don’t love Castro.

Ozzie Guillen, however, expressed a markedly different sentiment. Needless to say, if Guillen lived in Cuba, he would never have gotten the opportunities he has in America. He’d be poor or in prison.

Guillen is now in hot water in Florida, dealing with a five-game suspension because of his comments. Fans are still furious.

Well, if it gets worse, maybe he could consider managing the Cuban national team. I hear they’re paying $120 a year.

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  • Chezwick

    Guillen's comments were asinine to be sure, but we on the right should not be hypocritical here. We've been warning for years about the constriction of political speech in America. Should Ozzie lose his job for the mere offering of a political opinion – no matter how absurd, this is not something that should be celebrated.

  • Amused

    While Guillen certainly scores a BIG ZERO in the common sense department , he is an American , and does have a right to free speech . Cuban-Americans should remember where they are ….NOT in Cuba where critical remarks will get you thrown in jail . No Guillen should NOT loose his job , nor is a five game suspension fair ..A public apology to those offended is ENOUGH . They got their apology , Guillen learned his lesson, was duly "punished " …now move on .

  • ajnn

    if ozzied guillen loses his job it will not be for the content of his speech it will be for alienating his company's customers in south florida.

    suppose he were working in business and lost, through his personal behavior or sp;eech, 20% of his company's customers. he would be fired at the 1st opportunity.

    why is this different ?

  • flyingtiger

    Free speech means that you will not get thrown in jail for what you say. It does not mean that you are entitled to a job. Your employer can fire you for what you say in public, if what you say can damage the image of your business. As a Chicagoan I had to endure years of Guillen's garbage. We laughed when Flordia signed him. They did not realize he is one of the lousiest managers in MLB. He is a media creation. He hates the USA and the sooner he goes back the better.

    • Amused

      I agree there flyingtiger .Bottom line , baseball is a buisiness , and filling the stadium pays the salaries and the bills . From THAT perspective Guileen may have already sealed his fate . The Cubans down here in FLA , are not good at forgiving , nor do they forget .

  • jackdurish

    The first irony is that Ozzie exercised a right that Castro would be the first to deny him, when he proclaimed his admiration of the tyrant. The second irony is that Castro himself violates the most basic right of free speech and then proclaims himself an admirer of Jose Marti who proclaimed that freedom of speech was essential to every man.

  • Ghostwriter

    What did Ozzie Guillen for his idiotic outburst? In this country,he got a five game suspension. If he said something the Castro regime DIDN'T like,he'd in prison or worse.

  • wctaqiyya

    If we just liberate Cuba, we wouldn't need to wonder if Ozzie would be sad, he would tell us. Liberate Cuba.