Ozzie Guillen – Trust him, he’s (not) the DoctorBy
When you are a big league manager and your team is failing to live up to expectations part of your job is to find a way to right the ship.
Some managers change their lineup. Others skip a pitcher’s start. And the really desperate ones put a rookie over a veteran player to try and add a spark.
Ozzie Guillen throws players under the bus, and then under the knife to get back from injury sooner.
Or, at least he’d like to.
In an interview earlier this week Guillen said that next season the Marlins organization will have less patience with player injuries.
“I’m not a doctor, but I don’t know why people have to wait so long to have surgery,’’ Guillen said when asked specifically about Logan Morrison, who said Tuesday he will have a second surgery to reconnect his torn right patella tendon (Sept. 5) and will need to rehab six months.
“It ain’t going to happen here like it’s happened in the past. … Agents and people and doctors and different opinions make those guys go different ways. Now, it’s time for the Marlins to take it our way.’’
Another article Ozzie was quoted as saying:
“It’s time for this organization to move on and be tough on the players,” Guillen said. “We’re not going to go through, ‘OK, let’s wait for another month. It might be better.’ It never happens.
“Agents and doctors and different opinions make guys take a different way. Now it’s time for the Marlins to take our way. I don’t care about opinions. That’s the way we’re going to do it from now on.”
(I grant you, likely the same interview just edited differently, but I wanted to save any trouble by just quoting both).
Read that a few times and let it sink in.
Guillen doesn’t “care about opinions” from doctor’s.
He is saying that next season players will not have the option to rest and rehab injuries without surgery. What he is saying is that if an injury can be fixed by surgery, the players will go in for surgery.
Now, I understand a lot of fans would applaud Guillen saying he is just ‘being Ozzie’ and that they like the tough-on-player approach.
But, this is too much. I find it difficult to describe this as anything but lunacy that frankly borders on negligence.
Of course it is true that, in some instances, players milk injuries to stay out of the lineup during bad or losing seasons. I’m sure we can all think of dozens of examples. They get paid regardless.
And, sometimes players are told they may be able to heal from injuries through rest rather than surgery and they end up requiring surgery, anyway.
But, to say that the doctor’s opinion doesn’t matter, especially if he/she is saying that a player shouldn’t play or should try resting an injury before going in for surgery, is ridiculous.
Especially after saying “I’m not a doctor” while discussion medical opinions and procedures.
Fact is, it isn’t Ozzie Guillen’s body and it isn’t his playing career that the injuries affect. To Ozzie, however, the distinction between what is and isn’t his decision boils down to what is best for him and him alone.
Guillen says, “Guys play bad, have surgery, rehab, and I’m the one who is going to get fired. We paid them a lot of money for them to play for us. They’ve got to respond to us — to the Marlins.”
If we are being fair, that statement makes sense in some respect. It is true that when players under-perform or get injured Ozzie is the one holding the bag, so to speak.
His job is the one on the line, not his players. The players have contracts with the Marlins, the players are the team’s primary asset. Also, it should be noted that Ozzie did say that doctors will be approached for a “second opinion”.
And yet, a contract to play baseball doesn’t give the team nor its manager the right to force a player to have a surgery that they (or their doctor’s) feel isn’t absolutely necessary. The opinions of trained medical practitioners should not be treated as secondary opinions to that of a manager because his job is on the line.
Medical science has seen impressive advances in the time since Guillen was a player, and it’s true that surgery doesn’t carry the same risks it used to.
However, that doesn’t make surgery’s a one-size-fits-all solution, and it certainly doesn’t mean there are no risks. And, since the greater risk is to the player, their career, and their livelihood, the choice should almost always be theirs and their doctors.
And, Ozzie is not a doctor.