Bienvenidos a Miami
Ozzie Guillen is taking his talents to South Beach. Let me start by thanking LeBron James. Without “The Decision,” we never would have had the “taking my talents to South Beach” catch phrase. It’s one of the greatest catch phrases relating to a specific destination in history. It’s along the same lines as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “heading west,” and “going south for the winter.” But I digress.
After being let out of his contract yesterday, it looks like Ozzie Guillen will be the first manager of the Miami Marlins. Not to be confused with the Florida Marlins. No, Ozzie is not taking over a cash-strapped team playing in front of 14 fans in a football stadium. He will be taking the helm of a new, win now Marlins club that plays in a air-conditioned, closed, just-for-baseball stadium.
My opinion of Guillen through the years has bounced back and forth worse than an on-again, off-again romance. His fiery, confident ways lead to success. His loud, arrogant ways destroy chemistry. See a difference in those descriptive traits? I didn’t think so. Yet, he is the only person to lead the White Sox to a World Title in 80 years. He’s the only manager to make the postseason twice during his tenure. And he’s just about the only manager with an ego large enough to sustain life as a Chicago manager.
He should bring much of the same to Florida/Miami and more. Hanley Ramirez is a pure talent, but his head gets in the way. He is often insubordinate and disrespectful. The same may be said for prospect Logan Morrison. Whether Morrison develops into the talent many believe he will be has yet to be seen, but if his attitude doesn’t change, he may never have a shot. Jack McKeon is great, but he’s old, came out of retirement, and is disconnected from today’s youth. Ozzie is none of those things. Ozzie may be the most plugged-in manager in baseball. If someone says something about him or his team, he knows it. If his players do something stupid, he knows it. His never-take-nothing-from-nobody attitude may prove to be the Marlins saving grace.
Add to that, the team’s pressure to win, and Ozzie may find himself in a pretty comfortable position. The Marlins have managed two World Championships with far less money than the White Sox. Imagine what they can do with a competent manager and a little cash to play around with.
Ozzie is not the picture-perfect manager, and he may rub some people (myself included) the wrong way, but he may be the best fit the Marlins have ever had. Perhaps his fiery, confident, loud, arrogant personality will finally close the managerial revolving door that’s always been spinning in Florida.