Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Circus in Little Havana

I've been a bit quiet on this site the last few weeks, but I intend to do more regular updates in the future.

Tonight starts a three game series with Marlins, as we all know.

The Bulls and the Blackhawks have their "circus trip" every year in the early part of their season where they spend 2 to 3 weeks on the road because there is a circus at the United Center.  Well, I look at this trip to Florida as the Cubs' circus trip.

We all know the story lines.  Unfortunately, the story line Cubs fans probably care the most about is Carlos Zambrano's first chance to face his old team (even though he isn't scheduled to start in this series).  I, quite frankly, just don't care that much about Zambrano much anymore.  I've wanted him off the team for a number of years and now he is.  I also don't really want any ill will to come his way.  As a person, I can relate to him better than just about any player in baseball...outside the fact that I have no talent for playing baseball.

I've been known to have anger issues during the course of my life, like Zambrano.  I've talked to people to help deal with these issues, like Zambrano.  Overall, Z is a pretty good guy and the people around him do tend to like him.  That has been the general story that all the major newspapers have reported over the last day or so as this series gets set to begin.

He needed a new start...he needed to get out of the place where he was comfortable.  Comfort tends to promote those bad behaviors that we've seen out of Zambrano over the last 5 or 6 years.  Now with a new team, Z can truly move to complete the changes that he needs to succeed...not as a ballplayer, but as a person.

So we move on....

And move on to what I think is the more interesting and fun story for this week....Fidel Casto's biggest fan, Ozzie Guillen, and his return to Little Havana.

Look, as Cubs fans, we are accustomed to booing our managers.  In fact, after a manager spends about 2 years of sitting in the Cubs dugout, it has become almost expected that we boo that manager.  The thing is, when we boo our manager, it's because the team is performing well below our overblown expectations.  This isn't how most fans in baseball treat their managers (except Bobby Valentine).  So when Guillen join the Marlins, I think all of the 46 Marlins fans were happy he was on their ball club.

So how will all 46 of the Marlins fans react to the dictator lover's return?  He might very well still be cheered when he makes an appearance this evening.  It's hard to say what the overall reaction has been by the Cuban-American community down in Miami.  The "huge protest" outside of Marlins Park last week only had a couple hundred people.  These comments might have been a bit more overblown by the media than anything else.  I would have thought that people in Miami, in general, would have been about as angry with him as people up here in Madison would be with me if I said something along the lines of "I love Governor Scott Walker" (who people in Madison think is about as evil as Fidel Castro).

Overall, the Marlins were right to suspend Guillen.  He does have a right to say what he did (whether or no he meant it), but it hurt the Marlins brand and as a result, he needed to be punished by the company that was hurt by him saying that.  Guillen can say whatever he wants, but he has to pay the consequences for it.  It was also right for Major League Baseball to leave the matter in the hands of the Marlins.


No matter what, this is going to be a fun series, though.

The Marlins are indeed a circus, with their shiny new stadium with the Las Vegas style home run structure in left-center...a lawsuit over the financing for the new stadium (a stadium which, might I add, the Marlins were able to build without having to sell naming rights...hmmmm...how is that possible?)...Hanley Ramirez just waiting for the right time to start bitching about playing 3rd base...the wait for Jose Reyes crumble into a million pieces (literally)...the anticipated appearance of Kim Jong Un and Hugo Chavez in Guillen's personal luxury box at the new ballpark...and Mark Beurhle's quick fall into a deep depression as he continues to say to himself, "They told me they were getting Albert Pujols...not this crap....ALBERT PUJOLS!!!"

See....there is so much more to focus on here than Carlos Zambrano.  As Cubs fans, let's move on from our obsession over Z and focus more on, and enjoy, the rest of Jeffrey Loria's three rings of chaos.