MIAMI — Ozzie Guillen emerged from the clubhouse tunnel three hours before game time Tuesday, saw the horde of media waiting for him in the dugout and uttered an expletive in surprise.
Returning from a five-game suspension imposed after he praised Fidel Castro, Guillen rejoined the team for Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
“I feel great,” said Guillen, seated in the dugout and facing about 50 reporters and cameramen. “It’s nice to come back and do what I love to do.”
The talkative, opinionated, profane Guillen said he won’t change – but then added he’ll steer clear of certain subjects from now on. He also said he’ll be more careful about what he says around people he doesn’t know well.
“Obviously talking about some issues is not my business,” he said. “My business is to talk about baseball. … I learned a very tough lesson. You learn from mistakes. I hope this mistake makes me a better person.”
The Venezuelan’s comments about Castro in a Time magazine interview angered Cuban Americans, who make up a large segment of the Marlins’ fan base. He apologized repeatedly during an extraordinary news conference a week ago, then began the suspension only five games into his tenure with the team.
“Obviously people are still a little bit upset,” he said. “I don’t blame them a bit, but I feel a lot of people supporting me. No matter what I do, it’s not going to be enough – there are some people out there who are going to feel the way they’re going to feel.”