In just one season, Ozzie Guillen managed to alienate most everyone he’s come in contact with — and the Miami Marlins had a miserable season, too. That combination made it relatively easy for the team to fire him on Tuesday as manager, a fate that almost seemed destined back in April when he made complimentary comments about former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The franchise was looking to transform itself with a spending spree last off-season and the move into a new ballpark, with Guillen, who won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox, at the helm. Didn’t happen. A horrible June took the Marlins out of contention for good. And Guillen, a blabbermouth with no filter, helped make the decision on his fate.
The Marlins owe Guillen $7.5 million for the three years remaining on his contract.
The season went sour from the start when Guillen’s comments praising Castro in a magazine interview angered Cuban Americans, who make up a large segment of the Marlins’ fan base.
Guillen can be a likeable character, a fast-talking personality with a penchant for saying something funny, insightful or controversial. But his team in Miami did not win and Guillen’s act played out.
Jeffrey Loria, the owner, according to reports, was considering what to do with Guillen after the manager had unflattering remarks about him. Last month, relief pitcher Heath Bell, who was removed from the closer role after struggling earlier this season, made comments on a San Diego radio show that summed up many players’ and observers’ feelings on Guillen.
“It’s hard to respect a guy that doesn’t tell you the truth or doesn’t tell you face-to-face,” Bell said of Guillen. “There’s probably reasons why.”
In September, Guillen even spoke of being fired.
“If Jeffrey doesn’t think I’m doing the job I should do. . . It’s not the first time he’s fired a manager,” Guillen said. “Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many (bleeping) managers come through here.”
Guillen told reporters in Miami: “When you are in last place you need a better manager, better general manager, better owner, a better everything when you are a last-place team because we all failed.”
Guillen also said that day: “Whoever works for the Marlins and denies that he should be fired is full of (expletive). My coaches, myself, the front office, my players, we’re all involved in this thing. We all failed. And we’ve got to be better. Hopefully we learn by the mistakes we made and we move on.”
The Marlins certainly have moved on.