MIAMI — Fresh off a divorce in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen has been reunited with the Florida Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria.
Guillen tends to speak his mind, while Loria leads the league in managerial changes, but both dismissed predictions about a rocky relationship as way off base.
“When we used to go to the winter meetings together, people went, ‘That’s a crazy combo,’ ” Guillen said. “But we know each other.”
So there’s no reason to anticipate Guillen ruffling feathers?
“I couldn’t care less about feathers,” Loria said. “I don’t have any feathers And I don’t care about him ruffling anybody. Ozzie has his opinions, and he’s entitled to them. You know that going in. But Ozzie comes with a great pedigree.”
And so the Ozzie era began in Miami. Hours before the Marlins’ final game in the stadium they’re leaving, they formally introduced Guillen as their manager Wednesday.
“It’s a big, big step in my career, a new chapter,” Guillen said. “Hopefully I can bring energy, flavor and enthusiasm, but the most important thing is a winning team.”
He agreed Tuesday night to a four-year contract and succeeds 80-year-old Jack McKeon, who is beginning his latest retirement.
Guillen will be Loria’s fourth skipper since early 2010. Guillen said he hates being second-guessed and knows how to discourage Loria from doing so, since the owner’s box is next to the Marlins’ dugout.
“I will ask, ‘What would you do right now?’ before the fact,” Guillen said. “I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’m going to make a move. What do you think?’ See what he says. He won’t know what to say.”
But Loria said he’ll continue to be a hands-on owner.
“I’m involved,” he said. “I do care. I want to see the fans in this community have a ballclub commensurate with the new stadium. I don’t think you can say being involved is a bad thing. In 2003 I put my foot down and said, ‘We need a catcher here, and we’re going to sign Pudge Rodriguez.’ Well, I guess that worked out.”