MANAGUA – MANAGUA, NicaraguaA Nicaraguan Hall of Fame baseball manager was fired Tuesday, days after publicly speaking about being hospitalized with COVID-19 along with his son and coach.
Norman Cardoze Sr., manager of the San Fernando Beasts, was not given a reason for his firing, but his wife Fátima Ruiz said the family suspects it was because they spoke out about being infected with the virus.
The government of President Daniel Ortega has continued to downplay the threat posed by the epidemic even as its toll has become more difficult to hide with more victims subjected to “express burials” and more medical personnel speaking out.
Ruiz said the family was “dejected” by the news.
“Norman is sick and this has shaken us more. Baseball is his life,” she said.
Cardoze Sr. had told The Associated Press about being hospitalized with his son and star slugger Norman Cardoze Jr. and coach Carlos Aranda in May. The Cardoze spent five days in the hospital and continue recuperating at home. Aranda was put on a ventilator at the hospital and later died.
Cardoze Sr. described the horror of watching people essentially suffocate before his eyes and seeing their bodies wrapped in plastic and removed. Nicaragua’s baseball league had suspended play following Aranda’s death and players’ refusal to take the field, initially until June 5 and then until June 26.
Players and coaches have spoken of being threatened to continue playing even as the illness spread through Nicaragua or risk two-year bans from the game.