Baltimore Sun
May 6, 1999

Anti-Castro activist who ran onto field demands apology

Cuban umpire blamed for body slam, punches

                    By Joe Mathews
                    Sun Staff

                    Diego Tintorero rested at home in Miami yesterday, his arm cut and
                    his back aching from one of the most bizarre international incidents in
                    Baltimore history.

                    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.