October 24, 2012

Good Riddance, Ozzie

By - Andy Garcia

The firing of Ozzie Guillen Tuesday morning came without surprise.

After an extremely rocky season with bad play on the field and controversial comments off, it was inevitable that Guillen's position as the Miami Marlins manager was coming to an end sooner than later.

Photo by: Getty Images
It was not a matter of if, but rather when he would get fired.

But regardless of the fact that they still owe Ozzie $7.5 million for 3 years remaining on his contract, the Marlins were 20 days late in letting him go.

They should have canned the outspoken Venezuelan the day after the season ended.

The organization was embarking on a new journey in 2012, having changed their name to the Miami Marlins and establishing new team colors, logo, and uniform. They were also opening up the season with a brand new $634 million stadium and a $111.5 million star-studded roster.

Expectations were very high heading into this year.

Miami trusted Guillen as the helmsman to get the revitalized franchise off to an exceptional start, but after only one season, Ozzie sunk the ship.

To say the Marlins got off on the wrong foot would be an understatement. That foot belonged to Guillen, and it just so happened to have gotten lodged in his mouth yet again.

Just 4 games in, the Marlins were 1-3, but even worse than that, quotes from an interview with TIME Magazine were posted online where Guillen was quoted as saying, "I love Fidel Castro" and "I respect Fidel Castro."

Sure, it might be fine for someone to admit admiration for an infamous dictator, but not when you're the manager of a team based in Miami.

There's no conceivable way that Guillen did not know that Miami was a city with a dense Cuban population. Plus, many of those Cubans have fled their native land because of Castro's dictatorship. He must have known that such bold statements would not sit well with the community.

It was a classic case of Ozzie not thinking before he opened his mouth.

And even though that incident was not the sole reason why he was fired, it definitely played a major role.

Everything went downhill from there.

The Marlins clubhouse was a mess throughout the 2012 campaign. This was largely in part due to Guillen making unnecessary and controversial comments to the media.

In August, the 48-year-old said that Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was the only good reason for fans to head out to the stadium to watch them play. That's definitely a great way to discourage the rest of your players from putting forth their best effort.

A month later, when asked about possibly getting fired, Guillen fired away at the Marlins owner: "If Jeffrey [Loria] doesn't think I'm doing the job I should do, it wouldn't be the first time he has fired a manager. Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many [bleeping] managers come through here."

What other manager would have the brass to call out their boss like that?

A few days after that, closer Heath Bell told a local radio station that it was hard to respect a guy like Guillen and that the team needed a manager that "everyone respects and looks up to."

While Bell apologized the next day for his comments, Ozzie was still asked about it, and he didn't disappoint with his response, saying: "That's why I don't respect him as a person."


The easier route for Guillen would have been to not bother replying to Bell's comments, put it behind them, and move forward.

Of course, no one expected him to take the high road.

Throughout all the mayhem and the clubhouse being a zoo, Ozzie could have still been the manager of the Miami Marlins today. The thing is, when you also take into account that the club finished a very dismal 69-93, it was a no-brainer for Guillen to get the boot.

Miami was one of the pre-season favorites to win the NL, but ended up with the 4th-worst record instead -- and even held a fire sale before the trade deadlines.

Simply put, the 2012 season was Titanic-like for the new look Marlins.

In an interview with CBS Sports earlier in the year, Guillen said that he had a post-game routine of getting drunk at the hotel bar before going to bed. He explained that he doesn't like to go out and that is why he never gets into any trouble.

How's that been working for you, Ozzie?


  1. Guillen is a disgrace. Not just to himself and his people, but to major league baseball as well. Hope he never gets another job in baseball again.

  2. The only reason they put up with this tool for as long as they did in Chicago was because he got lucky and won a championship. I knew he wouldn't last long in Miami.