Selig Legitimized Castro Far More Than Guillen

As much as we despise the murderous Castro brothers regime that’s plunged Cuba into darkness for over a half-century, we couldn’t help but empathize with oft-hyperbolic Ozzie Guillen after his regrettable comments about Fidel Castro in this week’s TIME.

(’Laughing’ Angelos: Cubans escaping mass murderer “would’ve marred trip”)

You see, Guillen was merely toeing the MLB party line on Castro, which has long been set by his ultimate boss, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

It was Selig, along with current Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who relentlessly lobbied an unsympathetic United States Government in the ’90s to allow them to stage a game between the Cuban national team and the Orioles in Havana.

The game, shamefully, eventually became reality on March 28, 1999, and was actually televised by ESPN at the time.

Peter Angelos, Fidel Castro, Bud Selig in Havana March 28, 1999

(Did Everyone Get a Gold-Plated Glock Under Their Seat?)

In the history of Fidel and Raúl Castro’s reign of terror, there’s a case to be made that nothing has done more to legitimize their python-like grip over the island nation than co-opting America’s National Pastime that day.

In the aftermath of Guillen’s five-game suspension by the Marlins for his comments about Castro, today Selig issued the following statement on behalf of Major League Baseball:

Major League Baseball supports today’s decision by the Marlins to suspend Ozzie Guillen. As I have often said, Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities. All of our 30 Clubs play significant roles within their local communities, and I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game’s many cultures deserve. Mr. Guillen’s remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game.

Coincidence we’re sure that apparently Selig forgot to leave out exactly why Guillen’s comments were so offensive as to merit a significant suspension of a sitting major league manager.

 (”Socially Responsible” Selig: Cuban Despot “Humble” and “Fascinating”)

Or why the same “social institution with important social responsibilities,” while on his watch, actively embraced being a featured centerpiece of what turned out to be a masterstroke of Castro propaganda - masqueraded as a 1999 baseball game backed by the full faith and credit of Selig’s Major League Baseball.

And while now-profusely apologetic Guillen is shamed to the ends of the earth, Fidel Castro’s Selig-enabled finest hour continues to serve its purpose over two decades later - thanks to the well-circulated photo of Selig, Angelos and the mass murderer, seated together in the front row of perhaps the first capacity crowd in history to watch a major sporting event by invitation only. (We say “perhaps” on the off chance Hitler sold GA seats for the ‘36 Olympics.)

Selig keeps up appearances: No mention of Castro in Guillen condemnation

(Why Didn’t Selig Mention Evil Dictator In MLB’s Guillen Release?)

The current public excoriation of Guillen is particularly ironic considering the media, baseball establishment and public took a complete pass on Guillen after he made almost identical comments about Castro to Rick Telander of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES four years ago.

Not to mention the same media, baseball establishment and public lodging nary a protest as Selig and Castro joined blood-stained hands in ‘99 … with one major exception.

48 hours before the Orioles game in Cuba in 1999, Mike Phillips of the MIAMI HERALD reported comments from Florida Marlins Owner John Henry at the time that could not be construed as anything other than withering criticism.

Highlights of the invective aimed by Henry at his baseball colleagues from the March 26, 1999 Herald article:

The loudest voice against the Baltimore Orioles’ exhibition in Cuba on Sunday may not be coming from a protester with a bullhorn but from the owner of the Florida Marlins, who is almost insulted baseball has allowed the game to happen.`

`The major problem here is ignorance,” says John W. Henry, who bought the Marlins two months ago. “People are not aware of the depth of oppression in Cuba. If they were, no one would support this game.”

Major League Baseball called Henry this week and asked if he would like to attend the game. Henry said he almost couldn’t believe it.

“I declined,” Henry said. “I’m opposed to the game, and the Marlins organization is opposed to this game.”

Henry was somewhat upset that baseball didn’t call him before it approved the game, but even more upset that baseball didn’t ask the players.

“It’s disappointing that baseball didn’t consider asking the Cuban-American players how they feel about the game,” Henry said.

The Marlins have several players and coaches who were either born in Cuba or whose parents were born in Cuba. To a man, they are vehemently against the game.

“Obviously, the Florida Marlins should be the team playing a game in Cuba, if the game in Cuba were the right thing to do. But it’s not the right thing to do,” Henry said.

Henry said someone should have contacted the Marlins.

“What is the percentage of our community that is Cuban-American? Virtually every Cuban-American is a baseball fan,” Henry said, making his point that no one considered the South Florida Cuban community when the decision was being made.

Henry has been out of the country the past week, but he returned Thursday. Last week, Henry met with protesters who showed up at Fort Lauderdale Stadium for a Marlins-Orioles exhibition.

“I wanted them to know I support them, that we support them,” he said.

Henry was also critical Thursday of Orioles chief operating officer Joe Foss, who downplayed the protests at (Orioles Spring Home) Fort Lauderdale Stadium by saying there were only 250 protesters in a crowd of 4,000.

“If [Foss] were to go to Miami-Dade County and ask the man on the street how he felt, I think he would see it’s a much larger percentage than he is aware of,” Henry said.

In his aforementioned comments to the Chicago Sun-Times four years ago, Guillen said, “He’s a bull—- dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power.’’

Sound familiar, baseball fans?

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Should We Allow Cuba To Sell Its Players To MLB?

ESPNdeportes.com columnist Enrique Rojas, citing “a source close to Cuban baseball authorities” reports this week that Cuban government officials are “studying” the possibility of allowing Cuban players to sign as free agents with MLB teams.

Fidel Castro and Bud Selig

The deals, which would be overseen by the Cuban government, would apply to players who have played for eight years or more in the country’s professional league.

If Cuba does decide to allow players to freely leave for MLB, there would be conditions. Read more…

NBA Cheerleaders Also Feeling An Economic Pinch

• The economic squeeze is being felt on the Denver Nuggets cheerleaders, as they’re now only being brought in to work weekend games.

Denver Nuggets Dancers

(Looking for a handout?)

Fortunately, the Nuggets Dancers (above) are still fully employed - for now.

• One more reason not to care about the WBC: The U.S.A. is D.O.A.

• It’s good when an NFL player wants to mop up a mess. It’s not good when said mop is used to attack the mother of said player’s children.

• Probable #1 MLB pick already repped by Scott Boras. This should go well.

• Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez once threw out the first pitch at a Mets game. Wonder what Fidel Castro would have blogged about that?

Read more…

Fidel Castro Not Dead Yet, Blogging About WBC

As if most bloggers weren’t already worthy of your scorn, Fidel Castro has apparently familiarized himself with Movable Type and is letting the world know just what he thinks about the World Baseball Classic. Well, at least we know one person in the world has been paying attention to the WBC.

Fidel Castro

Castro, who is apparently still alive, has been posting his daily thoughts on the tournament and the Cuban team in GRANMA, the hilariously named official paper of the Cuban Communist Party. And yes, it’s every bit as crazy as you’d expect. Join me and Comrade Fidel after the jump, for allegations of tournament-fixing, anti-capitalism rants, and casual racism.

Read more…

Wilt Chamberlain Can’t Compete With Fidel Castro

Wilt Chamberlain set a bunch of NBA records while playing in the league. He set a scoring record with 100 points in a single game, is the league’s all-time leading rebounder, and was the league’s all-time leading scorer when he retired. Still, the number Wilt put up that has earned him more admiration from men around the world than any other was the 20,000 women he claims to have slept with. Unfortunately for Wilt, it appears that there’s somebody else who has been even more successful with the ladies during his lifetime.

Fidel Castro Reads Up On Viagra Slept With 35,000 Women

Apparently when Fidel Castro isn’t busy suggesting that more athletes should kick officials in the face, he’s got his hands full with the fairer sex. There’s a documentary on the Cuban dictator coming out soon, and in it we find out that Fidel shattered Wilt’s mark of 20,000.

Read more…

Even Michael Phelps Look-A-Likes Get Some Love

• It appears that Chinese fans will go ga-ga over anything Michael Phelps - even BBC reporters who look like the gold-winning swimmer.

Steve Parry Phelps look-a-like Sharron Davies

But when it comes to employees of the Beeb, we prefer to go ga-ga over swimming analyst Sharron Davies.

• Teasing the Aussies about coming home with less Olympic medals than the British? The Sun is there.

• A Canadian fencer says a loss to a rival felt like “a kick in the nuts” - which is more remarkable considering the crestfallen foiler is female.

• With the Beijing Games now gone, how will Yao Ming be able to get on with his life?

• It’s bad enough when a football coach assaults a player from an opposing team, but it’s downright disgusting when said player is only 8 years old.

Read more…

Fidel Castro Approves Of Kicking Judges In Face

The last I’d heard about Fidel Castro, America’s favorite communist wasn’t doing too well in the health department. In fact, I was pretty sure that he was dead, but it turns out he’s alive and kicking. He’s even taking the time out of his busy schedule of dying slowly to write letters about how his athletes were totally screwed at the Olympic games.

On Saturday we told you about Cuban taekwondo fighter Angel Matos. In the story we learned about how Matos was disqualified by a judge in his fight for taking too much injury time, and how the only logical next step Matos could take after the DQ was to kick that judge right in his face. While this seems like poor sportsmanship here under our capitalist pig regime, Fidel thinks it was perfectly acceptable behavior.

(Now with bonus video goodness after the jump.)

Read more…

Report: Broncos Spied On San Diego’s Sessions

We’re *pissed* that Scott Van Pelt’s not starring in “Semi-Pro” instead of Will Ferrell - and we don’t have to apologize for saying so.

• The Broncos may have been Belichick-ing the Chargers, as a report revealed that Denver was spying on San Diego:

Chargers cheerleader binoculars

Manny Ramirez sox it to his agent, then gets on board with Boras.

• ‘Love Boat’ louse & ex-Hurricane Bryant McKinnie blows into Miami, causing a seastorm of spitting & obscenities outside a nightclub.

• Congress is pitching to put Roger Clemens under investigation for perjury.

Read more…

With Fidel Gone, Cuba Teeing Up For Golf Revival?

With Fidel Castro calling it quits, The WALL STREET JOURNAL slices over news of Cuba trying to gather some some green by bringing back golf.

Fidel Castro playing golf

So, why has there been such a shortage of links in the Caribbean nation - besides abject poverty, limited tourism and communist beliefs that golf is a vile symbol of capitalist sloth? Apparently because Fidel’s a sore loser. Read more…

The Baseball Effects Of Fidel Castro’s Resignation

USA TODAY has a piece today on the demise of Fidel Castro and how it could affect the talent flow to Major League Baseball.

Fidel Castro and Bud Selig

Castro was noted for his particular baseball obsession, developing national teams over the years that have had major league scouts drooling. There were eight Cuban-born players in the major leagues during the 2007 season; all defectors from the country. Recent defector Alexei Ramirez is expected to join Jose Contreras and Livan and Orlando Hernandez when the White Sox begin play this year.

Read more…