MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10: Protesters rally outside a press conference held by Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen for comments made about Fidel Castro at Marlins Park on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five games over his pro-Castro comments. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Over the weekend, we got to see a preview episode of Showtime's second season of "The Franchise" show featuring your very own Miami Marlins. The Fish will be featured throughout the year this year as we get to see the inside look at the Marlins and what occurs in the clubhouse and behind closed doors. The first preview episode was made available in full on YouTube.
The first episode focused on the grandeur of Opening Day and what went into making that dream a reality. It also tackled the tough first week on the job for Ozzie Guillen following his comments regarding Fidel Castro in the infamous Time interview. It was a really well-done piece, and what I appreciated most about it was the look at not only players like Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Gaby Sanchez, but the more intimate look at the higher-ups like Guillen, owner Jeffrey Loria, and team president David Samson.Behind the Scenes With the Bad Guys
It really felt significantly different to hear from Jeffrey Loria and even David Samson on this show rather than discuss them through the filter of media and fan anger. Samson is understandably difficult to get along with because he is tasked with the job of running this team's day-to-day operations. In these interviews, however, he seems at least genuinely concerned for the team's employees, as he is shown checking in on Ozzie Guillen multiple times during his suspension and explains to him why a suspension was necessary.
Loria certainly comes off as a caring owner, at least in terms of his employees, as well. He details his dream of building a modern-style stadium in Miami that would incorporate the local culture, and based on my review of the stadium, it certainly seemed like he succeeded. And Loria seemed even more interested in his team and making sure that everything turned out right for his ballclub. Say what you like about how much Loria and Samson cared about the fans (and I have my reservations on calling them either outright villains or saints), but it does seem, at least in front of these cameras, that they care about the team and its well-being.
Clearly, this first episode had a lot of Ozzie Guillen in it. Guillen was a focal point at he opening, when he delivered his speech to the ballclub as they arrived at Spring Training. Just from listening to him here, you can tell that he seems to be a fun guy for whom to play. Guillen is certainly sharp and funny, and while I disagree with Loria's assessment of him being a "brilliant baseball guy," he certainly has the knowledge of a former major leaguer, and the players probably respect that. As a motivator, I cannot imagine a better manager for this team, as it already seems evident that the guys will listen to Guillen and will play hard for him, if only because it will help to avoid him getting pissed at them.
When Guillen was embroiled in the Castro fiasco, he seemed hurt by the ordeal and apologetic, which is exactly what came across during his hour-long apology to the media. He mentioned a few times that the suspension was difficult because he could not affect the result of the games directly, and it seemed like it pained him to be away from the field. His remorse seemed real, and that should be enough to appease the fan base for now, provided he does not slip up again.
The best part about Guillen during this show? The f-bombs! Loria counted a whopping 97 during his Spring Training speech alone, and there are more than a few times that you will hear it throughout the rest of the piece. All in all, f-bombs included, the cameras seemed to capture a real, still unabashed version of Guillen that Marlins fans should enjoy.
- I was glad to see that the Showtime crew tapped Gaby Sanchez for an interview with regards to the Guillen situation. Even though he more or less gave the same answer we had heard him say on the papers, it was nice to see Sanchez get some exposure and reveal more of who he is.
- We got yet another feature to show how well Ramirez and Reyes get along. As usual, they are playing video games with each other, which I think is just awesome.
The show is well worth a watch on your end, so make sure you take thirty minutes of your time to check it out and talk to us about it here!