Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has always been a source of volatile and unpredictable comments. He often runs off at the mouth without regard, with no subject off limits or so absurd that it does not get the Guillen treatment that lies somewhere between utter genius and totally bonkers. His Twitter feed is often so chaotic, that followers often question its authenticity.
So it comes as no surprise to anyone that Guillen would cross swords with the one man that is questionably more volatile than himself; his boss, Jeffery Loria.
During an interview last week, Guillen was asked about the performance of the Marlins and how that may affect his job status at the end of the season. To that question, he offered the following answer:
“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.”
Now, that walks that walks the line between safety and suicide by calling out the ownership to the media, but it is a valid point. Given the high expectations on the team after their winter spending spree on the likes of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, there was obviously a major disconnect somewhere that lead to the disappointment that was the 2012 season in Miami. Failure of that magnitude is felt throughout an organization and no one person is to blame for that. You could almost see Loria accepting that argument and taking that comment in stride.
However, Guillen’s golden tongue did not stop flapping there. When prompted about his own job status, Guillen expounded on his initial comment.
“If Jeffrey doesn’t think I’m doing the job I should do … it’s not the first time he’s fired a manager. Look yourself in the mirror and ask why so many (bleeping) managers come through here.”
This is obviously where the fail safe in Guillen’s head was disregarded and he made a mistake that will likely cost him his job. Loria already enjoys a tenuous relationship with his managers, but to insinuate that the cause for that rift lies in the hands of the owner himself is enough to guarantee that the Marlins will have a new manager at the beginning of next season.
Of course, it is hard to fault Guillen for making such a comment. After all, he is absolutely right, both about Loria’s propensity for making change and for the problem being organization wide. It is all about team philosophy.
It is a matter of simple chemistry.
The Marlins have not been able to meet expectations over the years not because of talent. It is because of turn-over. You cannot build a strong team without first giving them the chance to gel as a cohesive unit. Constantly changing the pieces on the board and who guides them is a sure way to lose focus on what each pieces strengths are, and how they play to a winning strategy for the whole. Managers and players alike need to know that they are on the same page. If the only consistency is that you are constantly shaking hands and introducing yourself to the new components at the helm and on the field, you begin to realize that the only common component in that equation is you and the philosophy of a team gets thrown out the window.
George Steinbrenner tried a similar philosophy with the Yankees during the 1980’s and failed. It was not until he took a step back in the 1990’s and let the front office make decisions to build a core that the team truly succeeded.
Loria is astute enough to see that lesson. Whether he can put his ego aside, look into Guillen’s proverbial mirror and learn from such a lesson is another story.