PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Manager Freddie Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves watches prior to playing against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park on February 26, 2011 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Gonzalez, fired last June for the sin of failing to win a World Series with a middling collection of baseball talent, was magnanimous when asked by reporters to reflect on his time in Miami.
"There’s no bitterness, nothing," Gonzalez said when asked how he felt facing his former team.
It's easy not to be bitter when one of the best organizations in baseball scoops you up from the unemployment rolls to replace Bobby Cox, Gonzalez' mentor, of course. Now that he works for a team that can afford the services of slugger Dan Uggla, getting fired by the Marlins must not seem like such a disappointment anymore. We should all be so lucky.
We also learned yesterday that Gonzalez offered a bit of advice on bullpen and lineup strategy to current Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez after he was named Gonzalez' replacement in June. Rodriguez said Gonzalez "was calling me every day" during his first few days on the job, "trying to help me out with the whole situation."
The Marlins got the better of Gonzalez' Braves in yesterday's game, as Bryan Petersen drove in Emilio Bonifacio with a single in the bottom of the tenth inning to secure the victory in extra innings. Marlins ace Josh Johnson started the game with 3 2/3 innings of solid work, giving up one run on three hits and adding two strikeouts.
We shall see if Gonzalez gets the last laugh. The last manager to be fired by the Marlins before Gonzalez, Joe Girardi, was also plucked from unemployment by a bigger fish, the New York Yankees. Girardi won a title with the Yankees in his second season with the club. Here's hoping the Marlins don't have to watch another former skipper win a World Series.