So this morning while I went through my twitter feed I came across a wonderfully written article by Patrick Mooney of CSN on Ozzie Guillen and the Cubs. I suggest you give it a read here. In fact I suggest you give Patrick Mooney a follow on twitter because pretty much everything he writes is a must read. But after reading his piece I came to one conclusion. The Chicago Cubs need Ozzie Guillen as a coach on this team going forward.
While I know that Ozzie likely would never be named manager of the Cubs with the current front office (which Mooney agrees with in his article). I do think he should not only be a candidate for the next coaching staff but he should be a requirement. One thing the Cubs fans liked so much about Girardi and the reason why he ripped a lot of our hearts out yesterday is his passion for the Cubs. As fans we want a manager who knows Chicago, loves the Cubs, and have expectations of what it takes to live the experience of being a part of the Cubs. Joe Girardi had that and guess what? So does Ozzie Guillen! While he never played, managed, or coached for the Cubs he spent 19 years as a player and manager of the Chicago White Sox. He knows the culture, has knowledge of the city, and knows what it takes to win here.
But knowing these things and being passionate about the city of Chicago and the Cubs will not get you the “requirement” tag to put him on the coaching staff from me. The fact that Ozzie is known as one of the best in game managers in baseball helps out tremendously. His passion, drive, and the motivation he provides for his players is 2ndto none. There were numerous times during post game press conferences Ozzie did something Dale Sveum never did; take all the heat off his players and put it on himself. Whether you agree with Guillen’s tatics (or antics for that matter) is not important. His leadership and the way he handles players is what this team desperately needs going forward.
Do not get me wrong Ozzie does come with some issues just like many managers. Some of the things he has said and done have been disrespectful, politically incorrect, and sometimes can be seen as selfish or distasteful. Such expressing his want for a contract extension through the media, making insensitive comments to Jay Mariotti, declining to visit the White House, the controversial illegal immigration comments in 2010, and of course the Fidel Castro comment that had him suspended for 5 games in April of 2012. Those are all issues that Ozzie has had and he paid the price for. You get the great with the horrible when you have Ozzie Guillen on your team. And everyone knows eventually Ozzie is going to do something that offends or embarrasses someone but I think there is less of a chance if he is a coach.
Ozzie Guillen would be essential to this new Cubs staff for all the reasons above but one that may get overlooked is his teaching, development, and relation to his players. Ozzie is known around baseball circles as one of the best teachers in the game. He is a very hands on manager who works with veteran players and prospects alike. He expects a lot from them and he gets the most out of them. The other thing that gets overlooked is his relation to Latin players. If anyone knows the struggles, expectation, and can relate to Latin prospects coming up to the big leagues it is Ozzie Guillen. Currently the Cubs have numerous Latin prospects who getting closer and closer to the big league level not to mention a current player named Starlin Castro (who Guillen thinks is an All-Star SS) who could use a mentor like Ozzie Guillen. That one big glaring hole from the past years with the Cubs is that they had no Latin voice or influence on this team. Fact is who better to relate to those up and coming prospects than Ozzie Guillen who is a great teacher, motivator, and went through the same thing as they did. Having a Latin influence on this team is instrumental whether it be Guillen or someone else but you cannot do much better than Ozzie Guillen.
If anyone doubts Ozzie Guillen I suggest our read Patrick Mooney’s article I linked above and also watch this video from earlier this year from CSNChicago in a discussion with Ozzie. Ozzie Guillen being a part of the Chicago Cubs coaching staff is a necessity regardless of who is manager. A necessity I would applaud and be ecstatic if the front office implemented.
I am ready for Ozzie Guillen on the north side? Are you ready for “Ozzie being Ozzie?”
Until Next Time…