29 September 2011
As the Florida Marlins were getting ready for their final game of the 2011 season, most of the press was in the interview room at Sun Life Stadium watching as the Marlins announced the Ozzie Guillen will be taking over as manager for the team next year when they move into the new stadium and become the Miami Marlins. Guillen had been with the Chicago White Sox, where he managed the team to a World Series victory, for eight years before being released from his contract with two games left in the 2011 season. Their was ever little doubt that he would not end up with the Marlins after being released, and although he did reject the Marlins first contract offer he did end up signing a four year deal worth $10 million. The deal will also cost the Marlins two Minor Leaguers, SS Ozzie Martinez and RHP Jhan Martinez, as the White Sox are owed compensation since Guillen still had one year left on his contract with them.
Guillen, who was a third base coach with the Marlins when they won the World Series in 2003, knows that this is a difficult market for baseball fans and said that his goal is "when fans leave the ballpark, they want to come back and watch the ball club. As soon as they get out [they say], 'I'm going to bring my kids out to watch those guys play because they've got energy, they play hard." Guillen should bring a spark with him and despite his tendency to get in his players face and the fact that he has no problems calling a player out when talking to the media, players do like to play for him.
Ozzie and Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez supposedly already have a good relationship even before Guillen took the job with the Marlins. Ozzie knows that Hanley is going to play a big part in how the Marlins play next year, and even though Hanley has had some run ins with previous managers and teammates for his play on the field, Ozzie says he is taking it upon himself that Hanley comes back and has a solid 2012.
"My job is to make this guy [have a] smile on his face, enjoy this game and play this game the way it should be played. Not the way Ozzie wants you to play the game, the way it should. There's a lot of kids that look up to him, I'm going to look up to him myself. I didn't come here to demand Hanley what to do, what to say, but there's one thing I guarantee you -- this kid's going to be back where he was."
"A lot of people [are] hard on him," Guillen said. "Maybe he earned that, but how about looking at yourself in the mirror and say, well, maybe it was another player's fault, maybe the manager's fault, maybe the front office people's fault. A lot of people blame somebody when they see something wrong, but you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, well, this is my fault to let that happen. Maybe."
Although not everything that Ozzie said sounded that positive. Before coming to Miami he made it clear the reason things didn't work out in Chicago was because of money and on Wednesday he said "My biggest satisfaction in this game is rings, but my goal is to have more money." Not really the thing you want to hear your manager say. All and all however, it was a very positive afternoon filled will a lot of promise. Now it is just time to wait and see if that promise can be turned into success on the field.
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