The Observatory

The Truth Shall Set You Laughing

Jeremiah Horrigan

Jeremiah Horrigan
New Paltz, New York, USA
February 04
Working Copy
Former Knight of the Altar, St. Martin's parish in South Buffalo, NY. Old enough to remember ducking-and-covering from the nukes that Sister Jeanne assured us were coming our way, defending Santa Claus until age 10, hating playing sports, wanting to fly, escaping to Westchester County for three years, re-escaping to Buffalo for most of high school, escaping to Fordham U long enough to drop out, escaping school, getting political, getting arrested, getting tried, convicted and released for crimes against the draft. Husband to Patty, father to Grady and Annie. Housepainter, cab driver, idiot, then newspaper reporter in Poughkeepsie, years of freelancing (Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Negligent Mother Magazine) and shameful indulgence, followed finally by 18 more years of reporting, column-writing, some awards, discoveries large and small along the way, including these: Sister Jeanne was full of beans, writing is good for the soul and I'm the luckiest man alive.


Jeremiah Horrigan's Links
APRIL 10, 2012 11:34PM

Fidel Castro: The Contender Remembers

Rate: 7 Flag
"The Miami Marlins announced Tuesday morning that the team has suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games effective immediately after his comments about Fidel Castro." -- The Miami Herald
Reflections of Fidel
by Fidel Castro
Senior Columnist
Granma Internacional

So, my people, it has come to this: merely mentioning my name can get you a five-game suspension from your job as a manager in MLYB (Major League Yankee Baseball).

That's "Yankee" in the generic sense, my people. I do not refer here to the arrogant capitalist "team" of multi-millionaires that has become so adept of late at swinging and missing when it comes to the so-called "World Series."

But please, do not misunderstand my remarks. Others have made that mistake (ex-President Carter, are you listening?) and have lived to regret it. Please remember: I may have been "promoted," from the presidency of our dear country to my current position as Senior Political Columnist for this newspaper, but I am still the brother -- older brother, I may add -- of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee and President of the Councils of Ministers and State. And little brother Raul will kick anybody's ass who misunderstands my words. He is my protector. I know this because he so often reminds me of this fact. And because he has already kicked my ass, many times.

Ha ha.Only joking, little brother. If you are watching me, which I know you are. Only joking.

Where was I? Don't tell me. I remember. I was speaking of Ozzie Guillen, the temporarily deposed manager of the Miami Marlins. His great crime? He had words of praise for me. He said he admired my ability to withstand every attempt on my life that I have endured for the past 60 years. For this, the man was punished and forced to recant his statement.

Baseball. I remember when it was a sport, not a propaganda machine, a maker of moneyballs.

This sad story takes me back, my people. It takes me back to my days as a young man, my days as a foolish young man laboring under the yoke of a false imperialist dream: to one day pitch for the New York Yankees. Imagine me, a Yankee. I confess it to you. Imagine your Fidel in pinstripes. It is laughable. no?

Read no further if you disapprove, Mr. First Secretary. I know you are out there, watching, forever watching me. I am old, as you yourself have so often told me. But it is time I told the truth, an old man's truth. Fidel the fearless leader of his people, once dreamed of being a Yankee, in both the generic and specific senses. Yes! And he might have become one, too, but for bad advice of the man who called himself his manager.

And his brother.

I was a lefty, of course. I still remember the feel of the ball in my hand, the natural way my fingers seemed to seek out and find the stitches. Those were golden days, days when baseball was a game. A game with no political significance.

I practiced, my people, up in the mountains. There was little else to do. The day we were forced by hunger to boil the baseballs and and chew those horse hides . . . my people, it was a sad day. A very sad day, made all the sadder by the memory of my tryout only one year earlier, when I was a champion hurler for the University of Havanna Barbudos. Yes, yes, it's true. You could look it up!

Comrade Guillen spoke the truth. I have survived every political storm, every change in the political weather. And what have I got to show for my troubles? A column in a newspaper. I’m not even syndicated! Not even the Huffington Post picks up my stuff!

The other day, I was watching a pirated copy of my favorite movie on the DVD player little brother gave me at my retirement party. It is called "Bull Durham." It is very funny. It tells the story of a kid with a blazing fastball who had to learn control. I was such a one. I had a sweet fastball. And I learned control it. I learned it so well, I gave up the glove for a career as a doctor. Then a revolutionary. Then a leader of his people. Now, I stare at the only trophy I have ever been awarded for all those years of service. It was given to me at that horrible retirement party. It is called a loving cup, but it is not. I look at its little brass plate and the words laugh at me. They torture me.

The words say "World's Greatest Socialist."

That was Raul's idea of a joke. Who else would give such a gift. It was given to me by the same envious little man who was my manager in the glorious days before the revolution. The same "manager" who turned down the offer they made to play for a Yankee farm team. Not enough mazuma, he told me. Don't worry, he said. They'll come back. They'll come back  and offer more.

They never did, my people. I received no second offer. It was back to the mountains for me. Back to the mountains for me and Raul.

You were my brother, Raul, you should have looked out for me a little bit. You should have taken care of me just a little bit, so I wouldn't have to eat boiled baseballs. I know you're watching me, little brother. I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. I could have had endorsements, girls, my own line of toiletries, instead of being this bearded bum, which is what I am, let's face it Raul, a bum who makes eight-hour speeches and has to worry about his cigars blowing up in his face.

They may have been Yankee imperialist dreams, little brother, but they were MY Yankee imperialist dreams. And you took them and you smashed them and you made me who I am.

The World's Greatest Socialist.

I have no further need of a manager, Raul. You are fired, little brother. Comrade Guillen was correct. I have survived. I have survived even you.  I am laughing Raul. Are you?


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Wow you had me sucked in for the first couple of paragraphs... very funny stuff, Comrade Horrigan.
Horrigan recipe for success? Take the headline story and make it about 50 times better!

Oh. . .and make it all come from a really important truth about all of this. Fidel's real life love of baseball.

And then there is this:" Baseball. I remember when it was a sport, not a propaganda machine, a maker of moneyballs."

I remember that too. I was VERY young!
Thoroughly enjoyable. I was also sucked in at the beginning. Makes one the world spins on chance and what ifs. You do spin gold out of straw. Great post...sending it on to family and friends.
I can see the Marlins stadium from my condo window. It is all new and shiny. But it doesn't have enough parking because of a city run like Paraguay. And now the manager is suspended for a remark that doesn't seem to bother lots of us here. It's probably a true statement, but a stupid thing to say in a city that's half Cuban heritage. What a mess.
jmac: Glad you liked it. Fidel is glad too. So far, Raul has been silent.

Roger: I wish I could get that recipe to work for me better than it has, but yeah, you pegged me again. The so-called real world is lots more digestible when taken with a dash of imagination.
Ande: Thanks for passing it along. Something I should add: though it looks like something I made up, Fidel was in fact removed from the presidency & replaced by Raul. And he now labors as a columnist for Granma International. Here's a link to one of his columns:

Fact is stranger than fiction, eh?

Lea: "A city run like Paraguay." I love it. Sounds like the Marlins run their ball club much the same way. Come to think of it, that's exactly how most clubs run things.
Bravo, Jeremiah! Viva Castro the Columnist! The pen is mightier than the sword, no?
I can hear him saying Marlon Brando's line from "On the Waterfront": "I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am . . ."
Will I get a five day suspension from OS for liking and commenting? Will I lose a week if I admit I might purchase a toiletries from a Fidel line? Just for kicks...(He's missing out on some serious cash. He could be a cosmetic contender.)
Erika: Let's face it, he couldas been a Yankee imperialits bum, he coulda been the grand old man of the game, but he went all socialist and he would up with a column no one reads. Coulda been a different story . . .

Bell: I'm trying to think of what they'd call his cologne. Big Brother? (. . . for the man who sees everything). Blockade? (. . . for the man who stops at nothing). How about Home Run? (. . .for the man who wants to get past third base).

The possibilties are as endless as one of his speeches.