Wisch: Guillen and Zambrano, A Match Made in Miami?

By Dave Wischnowsky –

(CBS) On the official website of the Sunshine State, a cheery message declares that, “Florida is known around the world for its balmy weather. The state’s mild winters have made it a haven for retirees.”

More than three million of them, in fact, according to published reports. Or, in other words, nearly triple the number of fans that will buy tickets to watch the Florida Marlins play this season in Miami, home to the nation’s most disinterested sports fans.

(Yeah, that’s right, LeBron.)

With an average of just 18,197 fish aficionados filing into cavernous Sun Life Stadium per game this season – the worst attendance figure in baseball – the Marlins are in need of a draw.

Coincidentally, recent Cubs “retiree” Carlos Zambrano is in need of a change of scenery, while his pal, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, is in need of a change of pace.

So, might the duo retire from Chicago this winter, pack a suitcase full of sandals and black socks (sox?) and take their tempers to South Beach for 2012?

The Marlins likely would welcome the hot-headed Venezuelans with open arms – and a nice two-bedroom condo next door to the Seinfelds and Klompuses in Del Boca Vista.

“There’s a lot of people thinking (about) what he said (about retiring),” Guillen mused this past weekend after Zambrano claimed he was hanging up his cleats following last Friday’s ridiculous meltdown in Atlanta. “I did a lot. You know how many times I wanted to quit? But I can’t because I love this game. So does he.

“I guarantee you in two or three more days, he’ll be thinking, ‘Oh my God, what I did?’ And believe me, I don’t know why, I don’t know what really happened, but I guarantee he’ll feel more embarrassed than anything. Knowing him, I’m pretty sure that’s the way he’ll feel.’’

If anyone knows Zambrano, it’s Guillen. Not only has the Sox manager had more than his own fair share of comparable outbursts during his eight controversial seasons in Chicago, Guillen also counseled Zambrano over dinner last summer when Big Z blew up during a game at U.S. Cellular Field and was placed on the restricted list by the Cubs.

This time, he was placed on the disqualified list.

Now, I’ve been in Zambrano’s corner this season, defending him for being the only Cubs player who has seemed to care enough about winning to call out the team for acting like a bunch of losers. But then Zambrano, in spite of last season’s anger management treatment and this season’s relatively good behavior, went and acted like a child again last Friday.

With that inexcusable behavior, the 31-year-old man-child is out of second chances – or is that seventh chances? – and quite simply has to go now, no matter the financial cost to the Cubs.

Guillen, meanwhile, has appeared burned out all season long managing this underachieving White Sox team, and he seems to me like he’s just ready to go.

So, is it possible that birds of a feather might migrate together – and make their way to Miami?

With a new ballpark opening in 2012 on the site of the old Orange Bowl in Little Havana, the Marlins (where Guillen coached in 2003) surely would love to have a pair of colorful, Spanish-speaking personalities headlining their ballclub and helping to actually attract some fans.

And while Zambrano may no longer be a headliner as a pitcher, he is, you know, a retiree – so the Marlins could market him to state’s robust AARP crowd. Carlos could travel South Florida on his off days playing shuffleboard at retirement communities, appear as the featured speaker during early-bird dinner specials, hawk FiberCon …

Heck, the possibilities are endless. And if it does happen that Big Z and Guillen matriculate to Miami next spring, the only shame will be that Zambrano won’t have a fellow retiree joining him for leisurely strolls along South Beach while they’re dressed in polyester.

Brett Favre really missed his chance with the Dolphins.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Clever, clever.
    We can always count on you Dave for an out-of-the-box POV.

    The management in FL love Ozzie, tried to trade a big-time propsect for him a few years ago (Mike Stanton I believe…wow, too bad for the Sox that didn’t go through). He was a 3rd Base Coach for the Marlins and he owns a home in South FLorida. Z would be just another ho-hum nut in Miami (city motto: Now leaving Miami, we’ll get you next time.).


    • schwing

      It’s no fun working with a boss who has a friend who is also you co-worker. Favoritism breeds resentment. If Big Z has another “blame the first basemen” meltdown, what does Ozzie do?

      If this match-up of Ozzie and Big Z ever happens, that is putting 2 volatile tempered friends in 1 dugout. As of now they are friends.

      That could change in a split second and Miami will see it’s first Ice Storm.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        In English that was “yet”

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Good point.
        Yewt Joe Torre was able to play favorites, as did Billy Martin, and the Yankees won a lot.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    By the way, this blog today was especially well-written…even by your high standards.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Unless the new GM has a personal “my guy” to manage…it will be Ryno.

  • Murphs Upper-Lip

    Great take on the Z debacle, Dave. I’ve figured, as have many, that if the Sox do eventually sink this year and let go of Guillen, he’ll be with the Marlins organization as soon as he wants. If he were to start anew in Miami, Zambrano following suit makes a lot of sense.

    Can’t wait to see who the new GM is on the north side. Tick-Tock Tommy Boy, please don’t let us down.

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    Yessir, Hendry is out. I’m either incredibly timely — or incredibly prescient — but my weekly Wisch List newspaper column for The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) scheduled to run Saturday is about the very topic of Hendry’s firing.
    I’ve already updated my column with this breaking news, and if anyone would like to read it tomorrow morning, they can do so at http://wischlist.com.
    As for Zambrano and Guillen, don’t be stunned if they both do end up in Miami together next season. In many ways, it would be a perfect fit. If they do, they really should launch a reality show: Real Hotheads of Miami. ;)

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Again, superb piece Dave…well-written and insightful.
      And Ozzie and Z would deserve each other…..Oney too.

      Timing is everything. Your blog goes up and then 5 minutes later, Hendry is gonzo. Seeing this big news bump your blog reminds me of the example that few contmporaries in the US realized that C.S. Lewis had died…because he died November 22, 1963.

  • tom Sharp

    Isn’t the average IQ in Miami low enough!? If by some miracle it isn’t, add Hendry to the mix to complete the trifecta!

  • Stephen T

    Ozzie is not leaving, he has had a very good year. Ozzie always does well with the hand that it is dealt. Too many Sox fans want to blame KW, Ozzie, Coop, Nieves, Cora, Herm (basically the staff). Its all on the players (and not Just Dunn and Rios). Look at Beckham last night, great defensively but appears to be getting worse at the plate. Vizquel doesn’t belong on a baseball field anymore either. Morel plays great defensively, but is actually improving at the plate.

    Ozzie isn’t leaving. The players love playing for him. It would be idiotic for the White Sox to get rid of an above average manager, who is great at managing a pitching staff and has won a world series. Ozzie knows how to win. What the Sox should do is promote Kenny to somewhere in the front office and bring in Hahn as the GM. That is the shakeup the Sox need.

  • Larry

    LHA, please remove your nose from Mr. Wisch’s backside. Your obsequiousness is rather revolting. Thanks.

    Speculation can be fun. It can be fun until it looks silly, e.g. as to Wisch’s article last week re the Cubs not making any moves because, in Mr. Wisch’s opinion, which he himself touted as being prescient, Ricketts had tied Hendry’s hands since Hendry wouldn’t be the GM next year. Oh, wait, Tommy just said he did not tie Hendry’s hands at the deadline.

    Gee whiz. So much for patting yourself on the back for being the first to say that – and be 100% wrong. Nice!

    And now, LHA to the rescue.

    • Larry Hose's Arse

      Sorry to have offended you.
      A favorite columnist is like part of the family.

  • Larry

    You haven’t offended me or anyone else. But you have embarrassed yourself.

    Here to help.

  • sharique

    do the articles from cubs fans really have to urinate on their best pitcher Zambrano and whitesox? is that really necessary? is it because the whitesox are actually in a pennant race? even on your so called ‘day of deliverance’ from the so called “evil” hendry who brought you to 5 outs away in 2003?? and you dopes think this firing is cause for celebration?from which you will gullibly envision a world series within this century? cubs fans are the most ingrate, embarrassing lot in human history.other than bernstein and his online pseudonyms like “Larry Horses arse”..

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      Quit talkin baseball!

  • big fan

    Anytime Dave wants to give me credit for this concept of Ozzie and Z moving to Miami, he can. Only been typing it for close to 2 years now!


  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Yikes! I got whipped today like I was running in a race at Arlington and Harry was the jockey.

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      Quit talking horse racing!!!

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