Anti-Castro activist who ran onto field demands apology
Cuban umpire blamed for body slam, punches
By Joe Mathews
Diego Tintorero rested at home in Miami yesterday, his arm cut and
his back aching from one of the most bizarre international incidents in
During Monday night's Oriole-Cuba game, Tintorero, a 42-year-old
construction worker and anti-Fidel Castro activist, ran onto the field
holding a "Human Rights for Cuba" and "Freedom-Strike Out
Against Castro" sign with a representation of the Cuban flag.
In the outfield, he was body-slammed and repeatedly punched by the
Cuban second base umpire, Cesar Valdez. Oriole left fielder B. J.
Surhoff had to intervene to separate the two.
Tintorero was detained and charged with trespassing.
"I had planned to come to the game and run on the field because I
wanted to let Peter Angelos know how I felt about the game,"
Tintorero said yesterday. "I expected to be arrested, but not beaten
In a phone interview, Tintorero demanded an apology from the
Cuban government and questioned why Baltimore police had not
pressed charges against the umpire. But yesterday, neither the
apology nor charges were imminent.
Valdez returned to Cuba a hero, lauded by Fidel Castro. And while
noting that Tintorero still has a right to bring charges through a court
commissioner, Baltimore police spokesman Rob Weinhold replied:
"Had Mr. Tintorero stayed in his seat where he belonged, he
wouldn't have to worry about criminal charges."
A native of Camaguey, Cuba, Tintorero says he was put in jail by the
Castro government when he refused to fight in Angola. In 1980,
Tintorero left in the Mariel boat lift, when thousands of Cubans left
for the United States.
He served with Alpha 66, paramilitary exiles who have tried to
infiltrate the Cuban military. But he says he quit in 1996, after reading
about Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. "I now believe in
peace, not war."
In the fourth inning, his 13-year-old son, Diego, ran onto the field
and was arrested, along with two Florida men. Tintorero appeared
an inning later.