Last April on ESPN’s “Sports Center” I was asked how long Ozzie Guillen should be suspended for his pro-Fidel Castro comments that appeared in a magazine article. I said at the time that Guillen should not go back to work as the new manager of the Miami Marlins until he and the team had time to get together with the Cuban community of South Florida in order to make things right.
Sadly Guillen was fired on Tuesday only one year into his four-year, $10 million deal. Although he did not lose his job over the controversy -- losing 93 games was the main reason for his departure -- the result of that Castro situation still weighed heavily on owner Jeffrey Loria’s decision. A stronger relationship with the Miami area would have made chopping Guillen much more difficult for the bosses.
Guillen remained the same guy he was in Chicago, holding himself and everybody in the Marlins organization responsible for the abject failure of a team built to win. Loria hated being called out by his manager in September, when Ozzie said everyone from the owner on down was responsible for the lost season. The easily provoked Loria apparently made up his mind at that point to cut bait and bite the bullet on the remaining $7.5 million owed to his manager.
This is not the last you will hear from the former Chicago White Sox shortstop and manager. A brief career as a broadcaster followed by a return to the dugout would not be shocking.
Even at 48, Ozzie Guillen is not too old to learn from his mistakes. Guillen is still a talented baseball man who is a lightning rod of honesty and in-your-face bravado. A return to the White Sox organization that he called home for over 20 years is not (and should not be) out of the question sometime down the line.
If the White Sox are looking to get people more excited about their team and broadcasts, making Guillen a third wheel in the television booth might make Sox games appointment viewing.