St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins

Ozzie’s Guillen’s Motorpsycho Nightmare

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There’s a Bob Dylan song called “Motorpsycho Nightmare” in which the narrator finds himself in a sticky situation with a crazy farmer’s daughter. To get out of it he needs the farmer to get mad at him and chase him out of the house. So he does the easiest thing to make that happen in early 1960s America:

Well, I couldn’t leave
Unless the old man chased me out
’Cause I’d already promised
That I’d milk his cows
I had to say something
To strike him very weird
So I yelled out
“I like Fidel Castro and his beard”
Rita looked offended
But she got out of the way
As he came charging down the stairs
Sayin’, “What’s that I heard you say?”

The farmer then threw a Reader’s Digest at him, took a swing at him and chased him out of the house calling him a “commie rat.”

I offer this only to suggest that, perhaps Ozzie Guillen doesn’t mean any of this stuff he said about Fidel Castro. Maybe he’s just living the plot to that song and he’s looking to escape something. Ozzie! Use the “Motorpsycho Nightmare” defense!

Probably doesn’t matter now, though. The original comments and the apology Guillen offered — he explains them in greater detail here — are now secondary to the narrative. All the oxygen of this thing is now consumed by official statements, displays of outrage and fun stuff like this:

A group of Cuban-American demonstrators plans to boycott the Miami Marlins as a result of manager Ozzie Guillen’s comment that he respects Fidel Castro. Vigilia Mambisa, headed by Miguel Saavedra, said it plans to begin a caravan of cars at SW 36th Avenue and 8th Street Tuesday that will culminate in front of the ballpark.

Context lacking from the article: that Vigilia Mambisa appears to be a somewhat marginal and extreme group that has been tied to violence in the past.  Doesn’t matter! Someone has said they are boycotting and that sort of thing is always treated as a big deal even if it’s … not.

As are comments that don’t adhere to the mainstream sentiment about Fidel Castro when uttered in or around Miami.

Not that I’m suggesting that Guillen’s comments were smart. Far from it. There are fewer more idiotic things a public figure in Miami can do in life than to say anything about Castro other than “I hope he dies in the street like a dog.”  It’s near-suicidal, in fact.  The lesson of “Motorpsycho Nightmare” is that if the narrator didn’t have freedom of speech and the right to say crazy things like that, he’d be in big trouble. But freedom of speech has nothing to do with this. It’s just bad sense to attempt to say something like this, and Guillen should have known that.

But really: he didn’t say anything that a reasonable person could construe as actually complimentary about Castro, did he? He said this:

“I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother****** is still here.”

That’s Guillen trying to say something funny. One could say that and fully believe that Castro is a monster. He’s talking about his ability to avoid being knocked off by the mob and the CIA and nothing more. To think that it’s an actual endorsement of Castro takes a special kind of sensitivity. Especially when one recalls how critical Guillen has been of Hugo Chavez in the past.

But none of that matters. Partially because, as noted, that special kind of sensitivity exists regarding this subject in Miami, even if it’s for understandable reasons. And partially because this story is now totally out of Guillen’s control.

Now the Outrage Industrial Complex has taken over.  Groups like Vigilia Mambisa, who will use this a means of getting some easy press. Organizations like the Miami Marlins who, out of sheer fear, will run for cover rather than do what they probably should do: roll their eyes at Ozzie’s Guillen’s bad judgment and then move along with their day.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.