3 to Watch: The Return of Ozzie edition
Ozzie Guillen comes back from his five-game suspension on Tuesday night in Miami, and the Marlins (and Guillen) can only hope that baseball remains the story.
The stories over the weekend were about baseball.
The Marlins can only hope that it stays that. Ozzie Guillen can only hope that it stays that way.
They'll find out Tuesday. We'll find out Tuesday.
According to news reports, there were no protesters outside Marlins Park when the Marlins played the Houston Astros over the weekend, in their first home games since Guillen's "I love Fidel Castro" mess erupted last week. That was good news for the Marlins, and better news for Guillen.
But Guillen didn't manage the Marlins over the weekend, as he served the final three games of his five-game, team-imposed suspension.
He returns to the dugout Tuesday, when the Marlins host the Chicago Cubs . If the protests don't come then -- or if they're not overwhelming -- it's probably safe to assume that Guillen will survive this misstep, the way he survived so many with the Chicago White Sox .
It's easy for us to say that he should. It's easy for us to say that five games were enough, that the hour-long press conference that served as a very public apology was enough.
But the other question was the one that couldn't be answered last week. The other question was whether the anger in the Cuban community in Miami Marlins would linger to the point where the Marlins would feel the hurt if they didn't take further action.
The Marlins face enough challenges, despite the excitement of the winter and the excitement of the new ballpark. They've sold fewer season tickets than many people in baseball expected. There are those who wonder whether the ballpark is in the wrong place.
The announced crowds over the weekend were good, with an average crowd of 32,000 in a ballpark that seats only 36,000. There were suggestions of empty seats, but no suggestions of a boycott.
Will it be the same Tuesday?
We'll see, won't we?
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Only three active pitchers have won more than one Cy Young Award. Two of them match up in Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants , Monday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park, when Roy Halladay faces Tim Lincecum . That's Halladay, who had to deal with spring training talk that his velocity was down, and Lincecum, who has heard talk that in his first two regular-season starts, his velocity was down. Halladay is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA through his two starts, while Lincecum is 0-1 with a 12.91 ERA through his first two. Halladay and Lincecum each have two Cy Youngs. The other multiple winner still active? The New York Mets ' Johan Santana , who also has two. Santana, 0-1 with a 0.90 ERA, starts Tuesday in Atlanta Braves against the Braves.
2. There's even a baseball reason to pay attention to Guillen's return game, Cubs at Marlins, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Marlins Park. Josh Johnson starts for the Marlins, and his first two starts this season have not been good. How bad? Opponents are hitting .447 against him (as opposed to .239 in his career before this year), with a .969 OPS.
3. The last two times the Los Angeles Dodgers started a season with as many as nine wins in their first 10 games (1955 and 1981), they went on to win the World Series. Then again, the last time the Dodgers faced anyone other than the San Diego Padres or Pittsburgh Pirates , it was last season. The schedule quickly gets more interesting, with Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers , Tuesday night (8:10 ET) at Miller Park. The Brewers were a major-league best 57-24 at home last year. Chad Billingsley , who starts for the Dodgers, was outstanding in his first two starts for the Dodgers this year. If he's really going to be a dominant second starter behind Clayton Kershaw , then . . . maybe that World Series history could repeat.
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