It appears that Manager Ozzie Guillen is finally getting his wish and getting out of Chicago. He is about to become the manager of the Florida Marlins.
Certainly this is no surprise to anyone who pays attention to the White Sox. There has been speculation for several years that Guillen wanted to be the Marlins manager. There has always been tension between him and White Sox GM Kenny Williams. As with any fan base, White Sox fans appear ready to start a new chapter as the Ozzie Show seemed to get old.
I was at a Twins/White Sox game in early August, sitting next to a couple of White Sox fans who drove in from Chicago. They talked about how they would give anything to get rid of Guillen. When I told them that there are a lot of Twins fan that would like to see the Twins get rid of Ron Gardenhire, they were in shock. They said they would take him in a second.
Guillen has been the manager of the White Sox since 2004. He was the manager of the 2005 World Series champion team led by a lot of the same core that is still there in 2011. His one other AL Central crown came courtesy of a Jim Thome solo home run off of Nick Blackburn in Game 163 in 2008. Overall, Guillen can (and probably will) boast a career 677-617 (.523) record in his eight seasons with the White Sox.
On Sunday, 80-year-old Jack McKeon announced that he would not be coming back to manage the Marlins in 2012. On Monday night, it became known that the White Sox and Marlins were discussing trades. It will be interesting to see who the White Sox get in exchange for their skipper, but it is likely not to be a lot.
The Marlins have had 11 managers since coming into existence in 1993. Rene Lachemann from 1993-1996. Cookie Rojas for one game. John Boles for the remainder of that 1996 season. Jim Leyland for two years. John Boles again from 1999-2001. Tony Perez for the rest of that season. Jeff Torborg for a year and a half. Jack McKeon for 2003 through 2005, including the Marlins second World Series title. Joe Girardi was the 2006 NL Manager of the Year before getting fired. Fredi Gonzalez from 2007 through 2010. Edwin Rodriguez for part of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. Brandon Hyde for a game, and then Jack McKeon came on to finish out the season.
In other words, the managing situation, due in large part to the owners of the Marlins, has been a mess. Guillen may be the perfect storm for the team. The Venezuelan native has always wanted to manage the Marlins. He has a track record of success. He is a lightning rod for attention. And the Marlins are moving into their new stadium next season. Looking to get crowd to see the team, Guillen will bring energy and an excitement that may even get baseball fans in south Florida interested in going to games.
Where will the White Sox go? Will Joey Cora take over for Guillen, or follow to Florida after the season? Will they bring in some big name and over pay?
From a Twins fan's perspective, I will kind of miss Guillen in the AL Central. The incredible respect between he and Gardenhire was obvious. Their pregame and in-game interaction was fun to witness. Guillen's post-game rants, which I assume will continue in Florida, were always fun to listen to. The difference, of course, is that now those rants likely won't be due to the Twins' pirahnas or whatever other nickname or curse word he would use to describe the Twins.
Things in the AL Central will be different. The White Sox, needed a change. Guillen needed a change.
And yes, I can see where the comments in a blog post like this will go... and no, I don't believe that the 2011 Twins season should be Ron Gardenhire's last with the Twins, unless he makes that decision himself.