Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's comments about his admiration for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro created a firestorm of controversy in Miami because of the deep-rooted anger of Cubans in the community whose lives and families were destroyed by the Castro regime.
It got national attention, but it particularly should have resonated with long-time Washington baseball fans, who may remember when the District was the American Havana when it came to ballplayers.
Senators owner Clark Griffith had a pipeline to Cuban ballplayers, fed by legendary baseball scout Joe Cambria. They signed about 400 Cuban players for Washington over a 25-year period.
One of those players was shortstop Zoilo Versalles, who would go on to have his best years with the Twins after Griffith moved the Senators to Minnesota. In 1965, Versalles won the AL MVP. He returned to Washington for one year with the new version of the Senators in 1969.
There was Camilo Pascual, who spent seven seasons with the Senators starting in 1954. He emerged as an All-Star pitcher in 1959 with a 17-10 record, 2.64 ERA and a league-leading 17 complete games. But like Versalles, Pascual would have his greatest success in Minnesota, winning 21 games in 1963 and going to the World Series in 1965.
Pascual also had two stints in the District. He would prove to be a solid starter in 1967 and 1968 for the Senators, leading the staff in wins both years.
There was the legendary Pedro Ramos, who pitched for the Senators from 1955 to 1960. He also came back to Washington with the expansion Senators for one month at the end of his career in 1970.
Ramos was a character. He led the league in losses four straight years and made the American League All-Star team as the Senators' representative in 1959 despite losing 19 games. He allowed 43 home runs in one season, and let up a historic blast to Mickey Mantle in 1956 that nearly went out of Yankee Stadium.
In his book "The Mick," Mantle talked about how much fun it was to play against the Cuban Senators.
"Washington meant so many good memories," Mantle wrote. "Pedro Ramos always carried a gun. And he and Camilo Pascual would argue about which one gave up the longest home runs to me."
Connie Marrero, a former star pitcher in Cuba who pitched for the Senators from 1950 to 1954, recently made the news when he finally obtained a major league pension. He is the oldest living major league player, 101 years old and living in Cuba.
The Cuban baseball connection is a big part of Washington baseball tradition, and it ended when Castro put up his wall of oppression on the island -- another history lesson for Ozzie Guillen.