HOUSTON -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez understands the emotions his parents and other Cuban-Americans felt when they learned Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen had told a Time magazine reporter, "I love Fidel Castro."
At the same time, Gonzalez felt Guillen expressed genuine sorrow as he apologized during a news conference in Miami on Tuesday morning.
"I saw a guy who knew he had made a mistake," Gonzalez said. "By reading his face, he's wearing it pretty good. I'm surprised for him [living in Miami] for so long that he took that lightly. I have an uncle and grandmother still down there. I was born there and came [to Miami] when I was real young with my mom and dad. You take that pretty seriously, those kinds of comments when you're dealing with those kinds of dictatorships or leaderships."
Braves right-hander Livan Hernandez chose not to comment. Hernandez was 20 when he defected in 1995 with the desire to pitch at the Major League level.
"I do not talk about politics," Hernandez said. "I still have family down there."
Gonzalez's father, who still lives in Miami, called his son on Tuesday morning and asked him to remain quiet. But the former Marlins manager felt he should provide some perspective. He exited Cuba with his parents at the age of three and spent most of his life living in Miami.
"It's going to take a while to earn the trust of the people down there or for them to forget and forgive," Gonzalez said. "You could tell that press conference was hard on him, harder than any kind of suspension or fine."