Ozzie Guillen's unsuccessful year in Miami confirms that he was unfit to lead in Chicago.
And so ends what was left of Ozzie Guillen's relevance to the Chicago White Sox.
Oh, he'll still matter to the White Sox universe as far as history is concerned. He's the only guy to lead the White Sox to a World Series in the last 95 years, and that counts for something. No, it counts for a lot. He managed that team brilliantly, and they probably couldn't have done it without him. Hell, I can't imagine the White Sox doing it without him, nor would I want to.
And it'll still be interesting to follow wherever he goes from here. After his firing on Tuesday, the Marlins are paying him $7.5 million to do nothing over the next three years, and he always talks about how he'd have no problem getting fired with time remaining. Well, here's his chance.
He could also go to MLB Network or ESPN and get paid for entertaining. It might be more natural for him. I've always remembered the anecdote Ken Rosenthal shared about having to remind Guillen that "his goal should be to manage in the postseason, not broadcast in it."
Either way, what he does no longer has any bearing on the White Sox. And in the event he finds another managing job before his Marlins contract is up, that won't matter much, either.
What mattered to those following the Sox was the way Guillen managed the Marlins. Guillen left Chicago with a few selling points intact, and had he come to Miami ready to start fresh and lead a team without baggage or distractions, it would have been the Sox's loss. Or at least it would have made Kenny Williams' role in the mess far murkier.
That didn't happen. From what I can piece together, Guillen's one year with the Marlins was a continuation of his act with the White Sox, only in an environment that was far less hospitable to his antics.
Lest I frame Jeffrey Loria as noble, he and Guillen absolutely deserved each other, and the fact that he has to pay $7.5 million to a guy he fired is a small amount of justice for everything he's done to baseball (although Florida taxpayers will allow him to cover that bill quite easily).
But make no mistake -- Guillen came to the beach ready to coast. Remember that New Yorker article covering Guillen's first (and only) spring training as Miami's manager? Here's a reminder:
A number of minutes passed with no sign of the manager’s returning. "See, my dad went inside and Joey’s doing all of this," Oney said, referring to Joey Cora, the former second baseman and Ozzie’s best friend, who was using a fungo bat to conduct an infield drill. "Right now, he doesn’t have a TV in his office, so he’s probably just sitting there. He likes to eat popcorn. He got an iPad—he just likes playing dominoes on it."
Various Guillens didn't even both to pretend caring about preparation, and this was happening during what would seem to be a rejuvenation period. It wasn't hard to imagine how little Guillen might try during a season that was slipping away earlier than anticipated.
The White Sox didn't care for the way Guillen dumped work on Cora, so those in the know should have expected him to continue delegating an "appalling amount." Likewise, is anybody surprised that he wasn't told about the Omar Infante trade when he wasn't around for the meeting about Jake Peavy's shutdown in his final month managing the Sox? And that's not even mentioning the Fidel Castro thing. He figured out how to offend in a specific, demographically disastrous way, but there was probably going to be a verbal faux pas of some kind. The Sox were burned a few times early on (two separate gay-slur incidents, for example), but the fans and media understood Guillen well enough to let it slide without a whole lot of objection. It also helped Guillen immensely that the Sun-Times shielded him.
Oh, and they didn't care for the constant presence of Guillen's three adult sons, which, I mean, come on.
Basically, Guillen carried his Chicago act to Miami without first working to bank some credibility with the ownership, media or fan base. Sure, Loria is basically the world's worst toddler as an executive, but Guillen would be on thin ice anywhere. He's lucky he's getting paid $7.5 million to go away.
He's taking the high road on Twitter, and the money probably makes it easy. But there are a few couple loose ends I wonder about, even if Guillen happily spends the next two years off the grid in Spain.
Joey Cora: Once a fairly respected managerial candidate, he's now out of a job, and not just because his boss lost his. Loria objected to the amount of responsibilities Cora had, and he ended up disliking Cora personally. Falling out of favor with Loria isn't necessarily a bad thing -- it stands a great chance of helping, actually -- but it'll be interesting to see what path his career takes from here. He's pretty much turned into the Kiff to Guillen's Zapp Brannigan. Will he be able to forge his own identity, or will he be permanently indentured to Guillen? If it's the latter, will anybody try to treat him for Stockholm Syndrome?
Mark Buehrle: Guillen was kinda the reason he chose Miami. Well, that and the $58 million. He might stump for a trade, or he might not have to, but his reaction ought to be interesting either way.
Only these mild curiosities remain. Otherwise, check the seatback pockets for your belongings here, because this is the termination of his Chicago flight. Even if Guillen gets another gig, hires a bench coach who won't do everything for him, forces his kids to make their own livings and makes every other long-overdue adjustment, it didn't stand a chance of happening on the South Side, based on what went down in Miami. He was far too comfortable in Chicago for any kind of epiphany.
So, for those of you who are tired of hearing about Guillen, the end of Marlinfreude should be a happy day. If you're not sensing relief yet, fast forward to the White Sox-Marlins series at U.S. Cellular Field next May and think how much more tolerable those three days will be.