Miami-Dade mayor: “The freedom-loving people” of Miami want Ozzie Guillen fired

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L’affair Ozzie is continuing apace. We’ve had the comment, the outrage, the apology, the media hand-wringing, and now the political opportunism.

In the run-up to Ozzie Guillen’s second apology over his Castro comment, Carlos Giminez, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, calls for his termination. Because apparently there is nothing more satisfying to “freedom-loving people” than to fire a person for voicing a weak, unpopular political opinion:

“I join the rest of our Miami-Dade County community and all freedom-loving people in condemning the statement made by Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen,” Gimenez said in a 5 p.m. statement. “For too long, the Marlins organization has been the source of controversies in our community and I now challenge them to take decisive steps to bring this community back together.”

“Bring this community back together?”  Call me crazy, but I have this feeling that a community that is strong enough to have escaped Castro and build what it has built in Miami is not capable of being destroyed by an isolated incident of one loudmouth saying something ill-considered to a magazine reporter.

Anyway, Gimenez didn’t say what those “decisive steps” were, but it’s pretty clear that he wants Guillen fired. Which, as I said yesterday, seems preposterous to me. At least if you treat this as merely a matter of Ozzie Guillen spouting off.

But maybe it’s not just about Ozzie spouting off to Miami politicians. That comment about the Marlins being “the source of controversies”  is loaded with meaning, likely being a reference to the funding of the new ballpark, which is now the subject of a federal investigation. That messiness led directly to Mr. Giminez getting his job, when his predecessor was recalled due to his involvement in alleged shadiness. Moreover, the matter of who supported public money for the Marlins became an issue in the subsequent election to replace the old mayor, with Giminez being an anti-stadium dollars guy.

Which, hey, good for him because that’s admirable. But it also suggests that being tough on the Marlins is part of Gimenez’s recent political DNA too.  Which suggests that Guillen is being seized on, not only because he said something that people in Miami don’t like, but because it’s politically expedient for some folks to make the Marlins into the boogeyman.

So, the theater continues. The allegedly shocking comment, the outrage, the first apology, the media hand-wringing, the second apology and now the political opportunism. All that’s left are the lawsuits, right? That’s how this sort of thing tends to go, isn’t it?

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).