Is Ozzie Guillen's Miami Marlins Firing the End of His MLB Managing Career?
The grand experiment of a big-mouthed manager leading a high-priced team the first year in a shiny-new ballpark fell flat on everyone's face.
The team underperformed, the fans stayed away and Guillen ran his mouth.
Putting up a career worst 69-93 record with a team that expected to contend for the National League East was going to doom him anyway, even if he never uttered a word.
Guillen's fate was probably decided early this season when he was quoted in Time magazine for saying that he loved Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
In a city that is chock full of exiles from Cuba; that quote was just a non-starter with the fans and the new ballpark at the old Orange Bowl site.
For all of Guillen's bluster, however, he really should have never taken the job to begin with.
Ozzie Guillen can flat-out manage a ballclub.
In eight years in Chicago with the White Sox, he brought the team their first World Series win since 1917 and never finished worse than fourth in any season.
Guillen manages like he played as a short stop. Hard, honest and in your face.
Guillen was never going to get the opportunity to turn the Marlins around.
He was brought in to win right now as Jim Leyland did in 1997 and Jack McKeon did in 2003. There was no five-year plan for Ozzie to get the Marlins in long-term shape.
His job was to take this team and their newly acquired players and mesh them into an October team.
Much like the Boston Red Sox brought in Bobby Valentine to kick butt and ask questions later; that was Guillen's role in Miami.
Back home in Florida, Guillen never met a microphone he did not like and the show became more about him than the team.
While Valentine will never manage again, Guillen should get the opportunity to mold a young team.
A bit more publicly fiery than Baltimore Orioles' skipper Buck Showalter, Guillen will do well in getting a young team to play hard all year and beat expectations.
The fact that Guillen will probably overstay his welcome with some will not matter with upper management as long as they win—and given the right chance, they will win.
Guillen's passion and intensity can work and, with the right front office, his ego can be massaged enough not to cross that public line like he did in Miami.
He is a big gamble because he is a loose cannon—maybe one of the biggest loose cannons the game has seen—but he can get the job done if given the right circumstances and a very short internal leash to work with.
At 48, he is too young to be a television talking head.
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