It was all good just a year ago.
The Marlins were well aware of the two-sided coin that is manager Ozzie Gillen when they got him in a trade with the Chicago White Sox at the end of last season. Guillen is a free speaker who regularly drops F-bombs and other expletives when addressing the media and players. He was also 678-617, with a World Series chip in ’05, in eight seasons managing on Chicago’s South Side.
Win or lose, Guillen’s often as offensive as a Hustler magazine found in a church pew; but as long as he racks up those Ws it’s just “Ozzie being Ozzie.” Unfortunately for Ozzie, he couldn’t back up that wreckless talk this season, miserably failing and, as usual, ruffling feathers in the process. Tuesday, the Marlins dropped an F-bomb of their own on Guillen, firing him following what ownership called “the disappointment of the 2012 season.”
The Marlins hoped Guillen would bring his controversial but winning ways to a Florida franchise that revamped their old uniforms and dropped $634 million on a state of the art stadium in hopes of winning its first World Series since ’03. The Venezuelan-born Guillen, a third-base coach on that Marlins championship team, was expected to endear himself to Miami’s deep Latino community, and develop an effective chemistry with shortstop Jose Reyes, pitcher Heath Bell and the other crop of high-priced free agents Florida signed.
It was a mess from the get-go. Guillen alienated the fan base when he was suspended five games in April for praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in an interview. Later in the season he got into a public pissing match with Bell, which reflected poorly on Guillen’s leadership. Finishing 69-93 and last in the NL East was the nail in the rambunctious Guillen’s coffin.