We could probably just use Ozzie Guillen for a quote of the day every day, but we try to be fair to the other competitors. Personally, I prefer fun Ozzie Guillen quotes that are accompanied by some surprising insight. For example, when asked about his future as the manager of the struggling White Sox, and whether he’d ever consider resigning, Ozzie said:
“I’m not a quitter. When I want to quit, I’ll do a lot of stupid things
and make sure they fire me and get paid.”
Which is funny. But then he followed it up with something that is pretty darn true:
“Because when you quit, it’s hard for you to find another job. Because when you quit, a lot of teams out there call you a
quitter or say you can’t handle yourself or can’t handle the heat or you
can’t handle losing.”
Mike Hargrove is a good recent example, but there are others. Hargrove was actually doing pretty well with a flawed Mariners team, took some months off to sharpen the saw, as they say, and can’t get another job even though he’s made it pretty clear he’d like one. In contrast, if Ozzie penciled in Mark Buehrle as his DH for ten straight days and then got fired, he’d have a job to start next season, no question.
Not that this is a bad thing. As I’ve said numerous times, a manager’s primary job is to keep the team on an even keel. He can make all kinds of tactical blunders and pencil in all kinds of weird lineups, but as long as people aren’t fighting in the clubhouse and spreading poison in the press, the team is likely to play to its native ability, or at least fairly close to it. And one way for the clubhouse to go off the rails is for the players to question the testicular fortitude of the manager.
Which is what is likely to happen if a guy resigns from his previous job. Because to the players, one of the manager’s primary jobs is to take the heat so they don’t have to. If the guy quits when things go sideways, the players are left dangling. And this is true even if the manager is placed in an untenable position by, say, the press and the owners and everyone such that resigning makes all the intellectual sense in the world.
Ozzie knows all this. He knows a lot actually. If I ran a team I’d strongly consider hiring him. Even if he got fired from his last job for penciling in Mark Buehrle at DH for ten straight games.
You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.
There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:
I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.
There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.
The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.
In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.
The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.
As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:
An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”
Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.
Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.