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What would this season of The Franchise be without Ozzie Guillen? Based on tonight’s episode, just a show about not-very-good team. Losing is boring, so it was smart of the series’ producers to grab hold of an organization that would at least make for decent-ish TV even when it wasn’t generating Sports Center highlights.


Ozzie carried tonight’s episode, for better or for worse, as his team molders near the bottom of its division. We saw a little of the bromance between Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica and the ongoing agony of Heath Bell, but otherwise it was the Ozzie show, starting with a beef the manager had with Bryce Harper. In a game against the Nationals, Ozzie complains about the pine tar on Harper’s bat. Harper points his new bat at Ozzie as if to say, “Does this satisfy you?” It’s an obnoxious move, but Ozzie overreacts in only the way a frustrated, losing manager would. I think if his team were in first place it would have been a much smaller to-do.

Next, the Marlins head to Chicago for a series against the Cubs. David Samson instructs Ozzie, in his nasal voice, to “handle” things while he’s on vacation and Ozzie retorts that he’s been able to handle things without Samson for the last 48 years, which was one of his finer moments on the episode.

The problem with tonight’s installment is that the Marlins are such a non-threat in baseball right now that the city of Chicago took a bit of a snooze when Ozzie came back to town, but that’s now how The Franchise portrayed it. There’s not a ton of love lost between Ozzie and Cubs fans (he called Wrigley a dump, perhaps not incorrectly) but the White Sox and Cubs only met for two series per year, more exhibitions than anything else. Since Ozzie wouldn’t be facing his own former team, the city didn’t exactly brace itself for his return. This may be the chip on Ozzie’s shoulder. When I first watched the episode, I was surprised that he and his son Oney seem to feel that the Guillens were spurned by the city, cast out by ungrateful fans. From my perspective, his release was more a matter of business than  personalities or politics. Perhaps that’s what really irks Guillen: that when he left, he didn’t leave an Ozzie-shaped hole in Chicago’s heart. The fact that the city barely raised its head enough to say “See ya” was more insulting than a “To hell with you, Ozzie!” Or maybe Ozzie has just been listening to too much sports radio, which is fueled more by the angry jerks than by the rational and apathetic.


Anyway, don’t believe the hype from tonight’s Franchise that may have led you to believe that Chicago was abuzz when the Marlins came to town.  Even the fake hype wasn’t enough to propel the entire episode, which was supplemented with footage of Ozzie and his wife Ibis. They’re a charming, good-looking couple that’s been together for almost 30 years (she looks more like her sons’ older sister than their mother.) I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the exchange where Ozzie says “You’re my bitch,” and she agrees and high-fives him, but whatever, if it works for them, that’s fine.

Ozzie needs all the love and support he can get right now because he’s at the helm of a ship that’s going nowhere. As the episode ends, the Marlins trade Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers for pitcher Jacob Turner, catcher Rob Brantly and pitcher Brian Flynn while just today it was announced that Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were dealt to the Dodgers for more pitchers.

Based on their performance this last week, I don’t see the trades making a huge impact on the team, so if that’s the case, get ready to see a lot more footage of the players spending time with their kids and Ozzie firing up the grill at home. It was somewhat entertaining for tonight, but how well will that carry the rest of the season?


Stray observations:

  • I still love you, Ozzie, even if you don't love me.