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posted: 4/10/2012 8:06 PM

Guillen truly sorry…that he's in trouble again

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  • Ozzie Guillen gestures during at a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment.

    Ozzie Guillen gestures during at a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment.
    Associated Press


Hat firmly in hand, head bowed, sharpened tongue checked at the door rather than firmly in cheek, Ozzie Guillen did Tuesday what he always does when he's in trouble.

Guillen went about saving his job and making certain his bank account was thick and rich.

If he seemed more contrite than you remember -- replete with saddened face and glassy eyes -- it is only because he had to put on a better show than he ever has before.

The difference is that he no longer has Jerry Reinsdorf to protect him from the fans, from Bud Selig and -- more than anyone -- from himself.

On bended knee before Miami's Cuban community, Guillen said his priority is not the five-game suspension for saying he loves Fidel Castro, and claimed he's not worried about the money he will lose while sitting at home.


Last September, when he cried almost daily about the horrible manner in which Reinsdorf treated him, Guillen said he was in it for the money and only for the money.

"With the rings I can't do (anything), but with money I can go buy me a new boat. I can go buy me a new car. I can dress my wife the way I want to dress her. I can go to Spain," Guillen said in September. "I work in this job for money. I don't work for nothing. Money, that's it. The ring? (Bleep) the ring. I don't even wear my (bleeping) rings."

But today, we're supposed to believe Ozzie Guillen is sincerely sorry. It's not about the $10 million contract the Marlins handed him last fall to be a great ambassador and marketing force.

"With my heart," Guillen said Tuesday, "I'm not doing this just to get out of this problem. I'm sorry."

Guillen is only sorry that he's in trouble. He's sorry that he isn't sleeping. He's sorry that someone is calling him on his gibberish.

And those who carry his water for him can't bail him out of this one.

He said terrible things in Chicago and rarely bothered with pretense. He's apologetic now because he's in Miami and he's offended a huge part of the Marlins' fan base.

Guillen said that hurt him more than anything, injuring Cubans who have suffered under a brutal dictator, and then a few minutes later offered, "The thing that hurts me the most is being away from the ballclub."

That's Ozzie.

He's a brilliant baseball manager when he cares about his team, but outside of baseball he is not the brightest guy in the world, and that is hardly a crime and makes him the same as many baseball managers.

The difference is most don't customarily profess their love for a murdering despot and then claim it was lost in translation.

Guillen has spent much of the last 20 years believing he was owed, and in trying to collect from life that debt he has become a blithering loudmouth whose narcissism knows no bounds.

His insecurity cost him lifetime employment with a man in Reinsdorf who treated him like a member of his family, and he managed to turn an entire organization against him.

It was all self-inflicted all so unnecessary.

That selfish side of him, the side that feels so persecuted and is so often joyless, that creates imaginary hardship and conflict where there isn't any, is what causes him to identify with someone like Castro.

That is almost certainly why he said he respects that Castro has managed to stay alive and in control. It's why he has professed similar admiration for Hugo Chavez, another lovely human being.

Guillen blew off his team at the White House but had time to visit Chavez in a World Series celebration, though now Guillen insists he can't remember backing Chavez and that he'd "rather die than vote for Hugo Chavez."

As for his pro-Castro comments, Guillen said, "I was thinking in Spanish and said it wrong in English

"Everybody in the world hates Fidel Castro, including myself. I'm just surprised he's still in power. That's all I was trying to say. I used the wrong words, the wrong language."

Guillen claimed in the last few days he learned "not to go into things I don't know about," but then said, "I know exactly who Fidel Castro is. I know he hurt a lot of people. I know how they suffered in Cuba and outside of Cuba."

But to say he loved Castro was beyond bizarre, and impossible to misconstrue in any language.

At the same time, this odd behavior can't be a surprise to Miami owner Jeff Loria, because Guillen has done this for decades. They thought hiring a wacky manager would be entertaining and profitable, and docking his pay is at the least unfair and probably hypocritical.

They suspend Guillen for five games in hopes of appeasing the Cuban community, but such pandering is transparent and ineffective. Those insulted will not likely be assuaged, and for the first time Guillen appears truly shocked that he is not made of Teflon.

"I don't sleep for three days. I don't want to go through this again in my life," Guillen said. "This is the biggest mistake of my life."

See, that's what Guillen's really upset about. He's being forced to own his statement and called on the carpet, events that rarely occurred in Chicago. Perhaps temporarily, he's been knocked from his self-constructed pedestal.

He has created a nightmare for his ownership and players that is causing a distraction merely days into his first season in Miami, with players turning off the TV tuned to channels discussing Guillen, and players hiding from questions about the manager.

"Wish me luck," Guillen said, "because it's going to be a very bumpy ride."

Anyone in Miami who expected something less could only be considered a fool.

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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