Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies that he would travel back to Miami after the game and hold a press conference Tuesday to address the recent comments in a Time magazine article concerning Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Guillen was quoted in a recent online article by Time Magazine as saying he respected Castro for having been able to remain in power in Cuba as long as he has.
Guillen later apologized for the comment during the team’s road trip this past weekend to Cincinnati where he said: “I’m against the way he [Castro] treats people and the way [he has treated] his country for a long time. I’m against that 100 percent.”
“I was planning to do something Friday, but tomorrow we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face to face,” Guillen said. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”
Guillen said he has been struggling with the situation the past three days, and hasn’t been able to sleep.
The Marlins did not release an exact time for the press conference as of Monday morning, but Guillen said it would take place at Marlins Park.
“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. I feel guilty not because I’m not lying, but because this thing hasn’t let me sleep for three days. Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want to be there by myself and I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”
Guillen said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction and knew how deeply it would affect the Cuban community.
“I have to face it,” Guillen said. “I have to make people feel good about themselves. I will say what I said a couple of days ago. I don’t want to just make a statement and that’s it because I think when you do that, that’s a bunch of crap.
“I feel sad because I know I hurt a lot of people,” Guillen said. “I’m Latino. I live in Miami. I have a lot of friends, and players [that are Cuban]. They know who I am. They know how I feel.”
Guillen said he had not spoken to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about it and didn't think this would affect his job status. He the saddest part for him was to apologize to Cuban broadcasting legend and Hall of Famer Felo Ramirez.
Ramirez, the Marlins Hall of Fame spanish radio announcer, did not wish to speak much about the situation but said he felt Guillen was doing the right thing by returning to Miami.
Guillen said he also apologized to Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras.
“Obviously it’s something that was going to affect people a lot and [Guillen] realizes that,” Ramirez said. “I think he will answer everything [in Miami].”
The ripple effect reached members of the Cuban community even in Philadelphia.
Phillies spanish radio announcer Rickie Ricardo, who was born in New York but whose family migrated from Cuba, said the situation was something that could be more damaging to the team’s image than anything negative on the field.
“Let’s hope Ozzie addresses it and clears things up,” Ricardo said. “That’s a subject that’s untouchable. This team could go 0-50 and it wouldn’t hurt the Cuban community as much as him saying something like that.”