MIAMI (AP) — When the Miami Marlins’ new ballpark stirs to life Friday, concession-stand workers will prepare such Cuban fare as fresh ceviche, plantain chips with garlic sauce and roasted pork sandwiches.
Then they’ll wait to see if South Florida’s Cuban Americans still have an appetite for baseball.
The Marlins hired Ozzie Guillen as manager to raise their profile, and he has done just that. By praising former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Guillen made national headlines, earned a five-game suspension and antagonized a large percentage of the franchise’s fan base.
Now the Marlins return home for the first time since the furor began. When they open a six-game homestand Friday against Houston, the focus will be not on the Marlins’ talented team or futuristic ballpark, but on the possible fan protests.