How Miguel Maximizes his Talents and the Marlins Ensure Their Future
The answer seems so obvious now: Ozzie Guillen.
He was the perfect third base coach when he was with the Marlins and his shadow still lingers. He is irreplaceable. Jeff Cox, Jerry Porter – both these men have tried to simulate in some way Guillen’s aggressiveness only to discover that they couldn’t.
Part of the magic of that 2003 Miracle Marlins team was Ozzie Guillen, waiving guys around the third base corner to get that run that would make the difference.
Guillen was loud, brash and fun here as a Marlin. He was a jokester, always with something witty to say to cut the mood but when it was time to get serious, he had a way of communicating it effectively to his players. This is evidenced not just with his days as a part of the Marlins coaching staff, but even as a manager on his own in Chicago.
Mike Phillips wrote an excellent rebuttal to Israel Guiterrez’s dreck; both pieces dealing with Miguel’s weighty issue. What Phillips depicted was Guillen’s reaction to Cabrera, and it meshes very nicely with what we talked about in yesterday’s blog – the Marlins need to get someone who can have an influence over Miguel that will show him how to be a professional and will hold him accountable.
Ozzie Guillen would be the man for the job. In fact, he would be the perfect Marlins manager.
Guillen loves Miguel like a son – the two have a history going back to when Ozzie arrived as part of the ex-Expo staff that took over the Marlins in 2001, the same year Cabrera arrived. Both are Venezuelan and Guillen took on a mentoring role once Miguel arrived at the bigs for that championship 2003 season. So, what he says has some weight.
“I’m a little upset with him,” Guillen said. “You’re still young. He knows he has a problem with that. When you are young and good, you can get away with it. But when you’re older and you’re not hitting home runs, then they will call you a fat boy from Venezuela…You’ve been eating a lot of arepas! When your mother is Venezuelan and your wife is Venezuelan, you are going to get fat. If he keeps getting bigger, his future is in the Mexican League.”
With that kind of zing, Ozzie reaches Miguel and holds him accountable. It is hard not to take the medicine with a touch of laughter and sweetness. It is done out of love, not out of jealousy because Miggy can trust in what Guillen says. The appeal from Guillen is heartfelt, it comes to Miguel as an appeal as a fellow Venezuelan, with a proud baseball heritage. This gives Ozzie even more auctoritas as his ethos is one of a professional baseball player who came from Miguel’s home country. He’s been through what Cabrera is going through, and Ozzie understands the bigger picture and the impact the potential of Miguel could have.
Guillen would be a perfect fit for the Marlins as a manager because he would provide the discipline and focus that Miguel needs and at the same time he could smooth things over for the rest of the team.
We talked about accountability and that although it is easy to call out Miguel for putting on weight, it really isn’t as much of an issue as a few of the lightweight sportswriters have been trying to make it out to be. Yet, at the same time, the issue is larger in the sense that it really is an illustration of how the Marlins organization needs to change things. They have to install a winning culture but they also have to instill a professional culture, too. Miguel is the illustration of this, he is the poster child for neglect here. Ozzie Guillen could change all that. He could be the resolution the Marlins need to implement because, let’s face it, Fredi Gonzalez is not having the kind of impact these young players need. There is no adaptation, no growth.
So Ozzie Guillen would be perfect on many levels – he would be the ideal mentor to guide Miguel in his growth to superstardom and help him find new ways to challenge himself and grow. Grow in terms of his baseball prowess, not in his waistline.
And maybe Guillen could cook up some low-fat arepas in the meantime.