SBD/April 13, 2012/Franchises

Samson: Marlins Sponsors Not Backing Out After Guillen's Comments

Marlins' game Friday marks the first home game since Guillen's remarks
Marlins President David Samson said no sponsors have threatened to leave the team following manager Ozzie Guillen's recent comments about Fidel Castro. Appearing on WAXY-AM’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” Samson noted the team has spoken to their sponsors and "they accepted and we accepted Ozzie’s apology." Samson: "They appreciated the fact that we acted and took this as seriously as it deserved to be taken and did not sort of stand and wait to be reactive. We were proactive. Again, this is about an overall view of baseball in Miami and the support that this team has” (“The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” WAXY-AM, 4/12). In West Palm Beach, Joe Capozzi reports although “a few Cuban Americans burned Marlins tickets Thursday outside Marlins Park, the team is not planning to add extra security for the series against the Houston Astros” that begins Friday. Fans protested outside Marlins Park Tuesday while Guillen held a press conference to apologize for his comments and some Marlins players said that they “would not be surprised if protesters show up again Friday.” Marlins LF Logan Morrison said, "Will it become a distraction at that point? They'll be on the outside. It's nothing that I'm worried about.” Capozzi notes an ESPN poll of more than 900 adults in the Miami media market found that “nearly two-thirds of Miami residents -- and 56 percent of Cuban-Americans -- think Guillen should keep his job.” The survey revealed that “only 27 percent of Miami-area Cuban Americans view Guillen favorable” (PALM BEACH POST, 4/13).

TIME HEALS ALL? MLB.com’s Richard Justice wrote, “I know Guillen well enough to know that he would never praise someone as vile as Castro if he only knew the truth. Instead, he was doing what he has always done.” Guillen “wants to give an answer outside the box, an answer that will shock and titillate,” but he “meant no harm.” Justice: “Nor is he stupid. He's a smart man, a funny man, but a man who ventured far outside his area of expertise.” Guillen may “eventually win back the sons of Cuban exiles.” For them, the wounds “are as fresh today as they were in 1959,” and his “sins were unforgivable” (MLB.com, 4/12). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes Guillen has “lost the trust of his most valued fan base: Miami's Cuban exile community.” Theirs is “a rage that will not die -- not after what Guillen said about Fidel Castro.” He has “to win now, and win big, but success will be but a temporary cure,” because there is “no surviving the forces of doubt” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/13).
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