Marlins Might Bring McKeon Back in 2012

Loria endorses his manager - and means it this time

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    This afternoon in Chicago Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said the team may consider bringing 80-year-old manager Jack McKeon back to lead the club in 2012. When the Marlins hired McKeon in June, it seemed like a move to hold the team over until the end of the season.

    Speaking to the media for the first time since former manager Edwin Rodriguez abruptly resigned in June, Loria said "there is a chance" that McKeon could continue to manage the Fish in 2012.

    "I'm not ruling anything out," he said. "But it will have to be somebody with experience. I'm not gonna allow a repeat of what happened this year."

    "What happened this year" was the removal of the "interim-" tag from Rodriguez' job title after the 2010 season, when he replaced the fired Fredi Gonzalez.

    It was E-Rod's first big-league managing experience, and Loria is loathe to depend on a newcomer once again. Before hiring McKeon, the Marlins' three previous managers (Rodriguez, Gonzalez, and Joe Girardi) had been first-timers.

    Loria gave a full-throated endorsement McKeon, though. And for once, he did not sound like he was lying when he supported his manager.

    "He's not a miracle worker and he'll tell you that," Loria said of Trader Jack, "but he certainly has a magic touch of getting players to want to work hard and succeed."

    He later added, "I mean, Jack, let's face it – he's brilliant. And I don't care if he's 180 years old."

    Loria also said he has not given up on the 2011 season yet. "Anything can happen. I would never bet against Jack McKeon."

    Heading into Friday afternoon's game against the Chicago Cubs, the Marlins are 12-8 under McKeon. They were 32-40 when he was hired.

    David Hill is a Miami native and cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only Florida Marlins blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.