Well, almost eight seasons.
I suspected the end would come swiftly for Guillen based upon the way he orchestrated his firing down the stretch. The train wreck that was the 2011 season is nearly over, but Guillen has jumped clear of the wreckage with help from owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
There was no tearful goodbye, at least in public anyway. Guillen managed the White Sox to a 4-3 victory. The final out had been registered for mere seconds when Hawk Harrelson began reading the press release announcing that Guillen was being released from his contract.
Guillen paid lip service to the media for 20 minutes, after which he presumably jumped onto a waiting plane to Florida, where he will surely be named the new manager of the Miami Marlins.
Perhaps Guillen has yet to head south. No matter. In the words of Cosmo Kramer, "In my mind, I'm already there."
That Seinfeld quote will do just fine to sum up Guillen's mindset for the past few months. A disappointing season, coupled with friction with GM Kenny Williams and the allure of a new start in Florida, has made it difficult for Guillen to hide his desire to pull up stakes.
Guillen has wanted out for a while now, and has worked hard on his end to force his release. It appears that it was mutual between Guillen, WIlliams and Reinsdorf that a change was in order. It's a move that needed to be made. With the owner standing behind the GM, as was the case in Chicago, a change of locale for Guillen was inevitable.
As I watched Sergio Santos nearly snatch Dylan Axlerod's first major league win away with a three-walk ninth, I prepared to hop on my computer and state my belief that Guillen would be fired or would resign quickly upon the completion of the season. The post-game announcement forced me to change some particulars, but not the main focus.
It was time for Guillen to move on, even as I acknowledge the contributions he has made to the organization. Of course we'll have the World Championship to remember. Guillen's lack of a filter between his mind and his mouth. The twitter account. The good times.
We'll also remember how he played on Reinsdorf's loyalty to free himself from his contract in a way that let him be eulogized instead of roasted on a spit after the season.
The evening should have belonged to Axelrod, who three-hit the Blue Jays over six innings to break his maiden in his third start with the White Sox. Instead, there may as well not have been a game.
Reinsdorf afforded a similar courtesy to Jerry Krause when the end came for the former Bulls' GM. Guillen got the red carpet treatment. He wasn't even fired, just released. Unlike the team he has managed to a 78-82 record, Guillen departs on a high note.
The skipper doesn't have to go down with the ship. He got it to drop him off in Miami. As Steve Stone speculated, the proceedings played out pretty much like Guillen wanted. He'll start fresh and get paid away from the stench of the under performing gang on the South Side.
Guillen, in fact, was the only one making reference to a firing, joking that he wouldn't bring any of his coaches with him to another "prospective" job. After all, Guillen said, they had gotten him fired in Chicago.
In reality, Guillen was completely responsible for his exit. Just the way he wanted.