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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Chisox: Mascot Can Tweet On Team, Ozzie Can’t

SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY and SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL recently published an interesting report on social networking protocol of pro sports team employees.

Ozzie Guillen and White Sox mascot

As part of the study, SBD and SBJ quizzed White Sox VP of Communications Scott Reifert on the MLB club’s Twitter policy for employees:

Q: Scott, walk us through what happened with [manager] Ozzie [Guillen, who created some friction within the club earlier this year over his Twitter account].

Reifert: Ozzie’s obviously media savvy. In spring training, he learned through his kids about Twitter, so he started sitting around at night in Glendale [Ariz.] tweeting, unbeknownst to really any of us, including our GM, Ken Williams.

So when Kenny got there the next morning, he had a conversation with Ozzie about, “Hey. What’s going on? Help me out here.” And he can tweet all he wants about away-from-the-field, away-from-the-White-Sox kind of stuff. He does it in English. He does it in Spanish. He does it in sort of a mix of both languages, about restaurants he likes or haircuts he got.

He immediately had tens of thousands of followers given the personality that he has, and he continues to tweet frequently.

So, if Guillen isn’t allowed to Tweet about his own team, who exactly is allowed to officially represent the White Sox on Twitter when it comes to on-field matters? Read more…

Guillen’s Latino Lament Over Chicago’s Twit Snit

The Chicago media is buzzing about White Sox GM Kenny Williams being upset that Ozzie Guillen refuses to give up his Twitter account. Guillen recently tweeted about that reaction:

Ozzie Guillen Spanish Tweet

(Ozzie’s sons helping with tweets. Not with grammar.)

Probably not a coincidence that Guillen chose to express his lament in his native Spanish. Read more…

Chicago Fans’ Favre Sign Yet Another Humor FAIL

Go to any major sporting venue for a game, and you’re likely to hear all sorts of colorful language to describe the visiting team (or, if they suck, the home team). It’s universal that at some point, somebody’s manhood - and indeed, his own ability and desire to procreate with women - is going to be questioned. Repeatedly. And God help any athlete who isn’t white, because that’s going to come up once or twice too.

Totally Awesome Sign About Brett Favre
(Verrry mature.)

But for as much flak as Philadelphia fans have earned for their poor behavior, isn’t it time we started admitting that Chicago fans are rapidly becoming some of the most obnoxiously childish in sports? Why, just over the last couple years, we’ve had casual racism, more casual racism, and now this delightful sign (above) directed at Sports Voldemort and Packers fans in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Read more…

Speed Read: The NFL Is Back! It’s Awes…Yawn

Hey, it’s early August, so it’s that time of year to get really fired up about football and be let down again and again by the abyss of suck that is the preseason. The Hall of Fame Game was last night, and it was billed as Terrell Owens‘ big debut for the Bills against the Titans. It’s exciting and all since it’s football, but it’s lame because even before halftime you’re watching guys that even the UFL would reject. Owens was fine in limited action, and both teams only used their starters briefly. By the end of it, guys like Gibran Hamdan and Alex Mortensen (both of whom I think I just made up) were playing quarterback. There was even a Patrick Ramsey sighting.

Gibran Hamdan

(I don’t even know who I am)

This particular rivalry is well-known for the “Music City Miracle” back in 2000, and Tennessee pulled another fast one on Buffalo in last night’s games — though the stakes were just slightly smaller. It all started when Titans punter AJ Trapasso took a long snap, and then pulled off one of the best fakes I’ve ever seen:

It’s too bad they can never run that again, since every team has now seen it. Well, except for the Raiders, who I’m sure haven’t figured out this whole “videotape” concept yet.

And how about the jerseys? Both are old AFL teams and were wearing throwbacks that will be brought out periodically during the season. Though for the Titans, the oil derrick image has some uncomfortable connotations. While the Oilers certainly had their moments of success, to the younger generation the logo serves as a reminder of the team’s ugly divorce from Houston (when a couple of thousand people would show up to see the lame duck team during their last year), and their odd welcome in Tennessee (when they played a season in Memphis, wearing the Houston unis and not exactly packing in the fans). When the team switched looks (and the nickname), things started to head the right direction and the Titans have been one of the better teams in the regular season over the last decade.

Titans Oilers

It’s officially the time in the baseball season when things start getting weird. The Red Sox were held scoreless for 31 innings by the Yankees over the weekend before finally breaking through with a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning last night by trade deadline prize Victor Martinez. But even that wasn’t enough, as Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira went back-to-back in the bottom of the inning to finish off a 5-2 Yankee victory and a four-game sweep of the suddenly hapless Sox.

Mark Teixeira

The Yanks now lead the AL East by 6 1/2 games with roughly 50 to play. Boston, meanwhile, has allowed half of the AL to creep back into the wild card picture. The Rangers are now tied for the lead with the Rays lurking just a game and a half back. Heck, Seattle, a team that traded away Jarrod Washburn and his sub-3.00 ERA, is only 4 1/2 out and have re-appeared as a contender.

But nothing is as odd as what’s going on in the District. The Nats, a team left for dead in early April, have now won eight games in a row after beating the D’Backs yesterday. Quite an accomplishment for a team that only won 32 of its first 104 games. In fact, it’s the third-longest run ever for a team that started a streak at least 40 games under .500.

By comparison, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s threats to start throwing at every hitter in the AL in retaliation for the Indians plunking three of his players in Saturday’s game between the two teams seems downright mundane.

Ozzie Guillen

• Want Madden 10? SPORTS RUBBISH points out that you can get it for free for subscribing to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for $49. Not a bad deal, considering the game will retail for around $60.

• So you know that guy the Raiders drafted first that everyone says they were totally crazy to pick that high? You’re not going to believe this, but it seems as if he’s not really very good. Like, the Niners are still glad they took Crabtree over this guy.

• Look, England, when you withdraw your badminton team from the world championships because of threats made by some Islamic extremists, then the terrorists have won.

• The Phillies’ Shane Victorino was tossed out of yesterday’s loss to the Marlins by home plate umpire Ed Rapuanowhile he was 350 feet away playing center field.

Shane Victorino

• The Cubs might only be two games out of a playoff spot, but they haven’t won a series against a team with a winning record since April.

Jim Leyland doesn’t understand all the hubbub about the steroids, and unlike some Hall of Famers (ahem, Hank) seems to understand what “confidential” is supposed to mean.

• Speaking of drugs, is there some sort of ADD epidemic in baseball? The Red Sox’ Nick Green is one of more than 100 players who have an exemption that allows them to use amphetamines (like Adderall).

• The HARTFORD COURANT’s Desmond Conner has a far-fetched, but actually pretty solid, idea about creating a Big East/ACC superconference.

George Karl fell out of love with Lithuanian big man Linas Kleiza in the playoffs, and now it looks like Greek team Olympiacos is going to steal him away from the Nuggets, if this poorly-translated Spanish story is to be trusted.

• WAG extraordinaire Colleen Rooney (wife of England soccer player Wayne Rooney) talks about her daily beauty routine in the DAILY MIRROR. She’s not really big on waking up with “panda eyes.”

Coleen Rooney

Which preseason is the worst to have to sit through?

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Week In Review: Witt Wants Winter Games in Ger.

• We’re keeping abreast of ex-figure skating champ Katarina Witt’s efforts to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to Munich.

Katarina Witt

The IOC would have to be a bunch of boobs not to hear her out.

• New blood tests reveal that Steve McNair was probably passed out drunk when he was shot & killed by Sahel Kazemi.

• Can’t Michael Jordan go throught at least one round of golf without being bothered by a giant inflatable penis?

• Secret video of Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James is finally released - in two versions, even! The final review: Meh.

• ESPN doesn’t feel like making news about the rape allegations aimed at Ben Roethlisberger. Why not? The accuser seems newsworthy enough.

Read more…

Manny Belts Grand Slam On His Bobblehead Day

Manny Ramirez does his bobbleheads proud with a pinch-hit grand slam.

Manny Ramirez grand slam bobblehead

• But Minnesota Twins legend Harmon Killebrew isn’t so impressed.

Michael Vick supposedly spent his first day of freedom at a strip club with Allen Iverson. But the no-longer incarcerated QB denies such reports.

• The Cambridge cop accused of acting racist against Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was also the one who tried to revive Reggie Lewis after the Celtics player suffered a fatal heart attack.

• White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle hurls a perfect game, thanks to a great catch by Dwayne Wise. Guess Ozzie Guillen made the right move, after all.

Read more…

Guillen’s ‘Racism’ Saves Buehrle’s Perfect Game

Say, remember a couple days ago when White Sox fans were whipped up in a lather about Ozzie Guillen’s decision to demote Brian Anderson instead of DeWayne Wise in order to make room for Carlos Quentin? Remember how people had gone so far as to claim racism in emails to Guillen?

Mark Buehrle White Sox

(Believe it or not, that’s his happy face.)

Well, it turns out that was far more of a consequential decision than anybody could have imagined. Fast forward to today, and Wise - who, according to a commenter here at SbB, “can’t read a fly ball for anything,” was inserted in center in the 9th inning of Mark Buerhle’s developing perfect game for defensive purposes.

Drama ensued.

Read more…

Terrell Owens’ New Reality TV Show Quite Terrible

• The critics all seem to agree: “The T.O. Show” stinks worse than B.O.

Terrell Owens abs

(All right, we get it, Terrell - you’re proud of your abs. Or wardrobe couldn’t afford any shirts)

• The Tahoe tourney attendee who amused Michael Jordan with a giant inflatable penis tells her side of the story - and sends us a new photo!

• Meanwhile, a Tahoe hotel employee accuses Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault - but is she the type to really be believed?

• Does Ozzie Guillen hate white players? That would be ironic, since he manages the White Sox.

• After being acquitted of rape charges, ex-NFL kicker Tony Zendejas sues the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for $2 million.

Read more…

If There’s One Racist In Sports, It’s Ozzie Guillen

When we last heard from Ozzie Guillen, he was sporting some threads from Chicago Cubs fans, that legendary bastion of maturity. And by that, of course, we mean a shirt that says “Ozzie Guillen Mows Wrigley Field.” Sure, it was based off of a different racist shirt perpetrated against Cub Carlos Zambrano, but this would be a prime example of that whole “two wrongs” thing.

Ozzie Mows Wrigley
(What could be wrong with this? It’s just innocuous fun for racists everyone.)

Anyway, to Ozzie’s credit, he was able to laugh it all off. We all figured that was because he was above all the racism stuff, but could we have been wrong? Could it be that Guillen’s not only racist, but he hates everybody who isn’t black?

Read more…