The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Cespedes Not Talking About Ozzie

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As far as "baseball teams that are close to Cuba" go, the Oakland A's are pretty far down the list. And that may be exactly why former Cuban baseball star Yeonis Céspedes chose to play for the Athletics.

    That notion, at least, is reflected in his decision to offer a "no comment" when asked about Ozzie Guillen's recent Fidel Castro comments that ended up netting him a five-game suspension.

    John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle attempted to check in with Céspedes on Guillen's suspension, given that Céspedes is, more than anyone else in the bigs, closely associated with the man Guillen was discussing.

    "Far removed from the Guillen epicenter, Céspedes declined Tuesday to address the Miami manager's flattering comments about Fidel Castro and ensuing apologies," Shea wrote Wednesday.

    This is brilliant on Céspedes part, because it keeps him out of the limelight and allows him to avoid any potentially controversial comments. (My favorite episode of Seinfeld is "The Opposite"; Céspedes is basically doing that with Guillen's persona.)

    Shea did get a revealing comment from Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, the man handling the A's Spanish broadcasts in 2012.

    "Miami's very political, and he feels more at ease, more relaxed here," said Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, the longtime announcer who's working on the A's Spanish broadcasts this year. "When I met (Céspedes), I said, 'I will not ask you anything political.' He said, 'Even if you did, I won't talk about it.'

    "From that indication, he doesn't want to get involved. He just wants to play ball. He could be idolized in Miami, but the pressure would be humongous."

    Pi-Gonzalez is correct -- look at the outpouring of emotion from Miami-area folks, particularly those of Cuban heritage, relating to Ozzie's ridiculous comments.

    Céspedes could be a tremendous star to that demographic and approach hero status if he succeeded there. Instead, he's adjusting to life in the MLB by toiling away in relative obscurity in Oakland.

    But that's what he wants right now, and it's not a bad thing at all to stay out of the spotlight and avoid any letdown or excessive expectations. Or, you know, any potential controversy.

    That's actually a lesson that Ozzie Guillen could stand to learn.