New Miami manager Ozzie Guillen and new Boston manager Bobby Valentine made headlines this past week with comments they made to the press. Gee, what a surprise.
Ozzie professed his love for Fidel Castro, then retracted, then got suspended five games by the Marlins.
Bobby V questioned Kevin Youkilis' heart and desire, then retracted, only after Dustin Pedroia reminded Bobby that going to the press like he did wasn't the Red Sox way of doing things. Of course, one has to wonder what exactly Dustin meant by the Boston way of doing things in light of last season's frat party club house. I can only assume Bobby didn't make the comments while dining on fried chicken and throwing back a Budweiser.
What Ozzie said, of course, was more serious. He alienated thousands of Cubans --and paying customers--that have settled in Miami and escaped Castro's Communist regime. Perhaps Ozzie would have been better to either not have expressed his political opinions or limited them to saying something like, "Hey, I hear Fidel's a big baseball fan. See what a great game we have. It transcends politics." Of course, one could argue that by forcing him to apologize and suspending him five games was the very thing those Cuban refugees were escaping from in their homeland. So for the last week, Ozzie's First Amendment rights have been debated. My guess is Miami will get used to Ozzie's Stengelese like they did in Chicago and accept him if he one day brings home a championship.
As for Bobby V, he doesn't seem long for this job. The team's play so far is inconsistent at best and it now seems like he is on the outside looking in. He is no doubt one of the best tacticians in the game--a great teacher of young players and a manager who has always gotten the most out of some rather average teams (see 2000 Mets). His honeymoon at that press conference lasted all of 20 minutes and, despite his everlasting tan and movie star appearance, looks like a guy that has worked 8 years in Boston in just 2 months on the job. His ESPN gig, which he was very good at, will seem like the good old days should the Sox not get on a roll soon.
Both Ozzie and Bobby V will need wins to turn the smattering of boos they have already heard from their fans, into cheers.