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The Clay County Advocate - Press-Flora, IL
  • Diamond Dirt: Miami Marlins' success lies with team

  • Miami resident Carlos Hernandez provided me with a pretty good vision as to what exactly is going on there after Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expressed his feelings about Fidel Castro.

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  • Editor’s note: Carlos Hernandez is the son-in-law of Courier-Post editor Mary Lou Montgomery.
    Miami resident Carlos Hernandez provided me with a pretty good vision as to what exactly is going on there after Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expressed his feelings about Fidel Castro.
    And I must say the response is what anyone would expect. The protests in the Little Havana neighborhood where the new Marlins ballpark is located, the anger many are expressing when they call into sports radio stations; it’s all natural. This isn’t a matter of race or ethnicity, this is a matter of how any group of people would respond when they’re very much offended.
    “If you ask an educated, calm person, the position of most Cubans would be that nobody appreciates the value of free speech more than Cubans. They’re political refugees who left the island because they did not have their free speech,” Hernandez said. “The issue is when you have somebody like Ozzie Guillen who would say something like that about Fidel Castro, the Cuban perspective is, this guy to some of our families has done what Hitler did to the Jews or has done what slave owners did to African-Americans — which was take away freedoms, kill families. If you’re going to say you love this person, go live in Cuba. And when you say something to that extreme about somebody who has taken so much away from families, at the end of the day, the position is (Guillen’s) just going to suffer the consequences and the consequences are they’re not going to support him.”
    Hernandez said he sympathizes with everyone offended, he himself is a Cuban-American. Hernandez’s grandparents were running the third largest printing company in Cuba and two days after Castro became the country’s leader, the Cuban army came into the shop, took it over and said the business now belongs to the government. The family left for the United States a week later.
    Hernandez’s mother was a child and she, nor her family, spoke English. The only money they had was $27 hidden in their father’s sock.
    Take stories like that and multiply them several times and you not only have wonderful success stories to tell, but you can certainly see why so many are offended by Guillen’s comments. I certainly do.
    Guillen apologized, but we all know a simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix things immediately. This could very well hurt his reputation for the rest of his life, we just have to wait and see. But when it comes to the success of baseball in Miami, that’s not going to fall on the shoulders of Guillen, it falls onto the team’s front office executives who put the team on the field.
    Page 2 of 2 - “In my opinion, three months from now, if Ozzie just doesn’t say anything else like that — puts his foot in his mouth — and if the ballclub is .500 or better, three months from now, it’s going to be forgotten,” Hernandez said. “The thing about sports in Miami, it’s not really about love affairs with the ballclub. Unlike the Cardinals, there’s history there, there’s people leaving season tickets in their wills. That’s not Miami. People fill up stadiums, people go to the games when there’s a good product on the field. And the reason that’s different in Miami is because in Miami you just have so many more options. If they’re 20 games back, people won’t be going and they probably will be blaming Ozzie Guillen.”
    I couldn’t agree more. The game will bring people out, but team officials have to make sure it’s a team people want to see. Not only does the talent on the field have to be worthwhile, promotions and deals have to be in place. In this economy, by the time tickets are purchased, parking is paid for, food and drinks are purchased, a family has forked over a lot of money.
    Hernandez has tickets for Friday's game against the Houston Astros. He plans to take his wife, Marla, and two children; Andy, 9 and Grace, 7. He just hopes with Guillen’s five-game suspension, tension at the new ballpark is low.
    “I just hope everybody behaves,” Hernandez said. “I’m glad he’s not going to be there for this game, so I’m looking forward to going, but it’ll be interesting. I wish he would have not made the comments because before he made the comments, the name Ozzie Guillen made the game that much more interesting and exciting, so it’s just really disappointing.”
    Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post.
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