Another thing that I think played some role in the Mariotti mess is that he picked the wrong target in Ozzie Guillen. Guillen gives good copy, is widely liked by local fans or at least provides them with entertainment, and has been an effective manager, with a .528 winning percentage, two division titles, and a World Series over seven years. He might be bonkers, but… people just like him.
I didn’t know this about Guillen, though, which I learned from Joe Posnanski:
Ozzie — counterintuitively — is one of Bill James’s favorite players BECAUSE Bill cannot quite quantify him. His offensive statistics were usually horrifying — he had a 68 career OPS+ — and Bill knew this better than anyone, but Bill could not help but believe that Ozzie was better than the stats. Bill was so mesmerized by Ozzie, that in the New Historical Abstract he invented what he called the “Ozzie Guillen Award,” which went to the player in any given decade who walked the least. And still, in the Guillen comment, Bill wrote:
“A gregarious, friendly player whose abilities escape the statistics, perhaps more than any other player I ever saw … He was play so well, when the game was on the line, that I could never understand how his could look so mediocre in the end-of-season stats.”
If Guillen broke Bill James’s science, Mariotti never stood a chance.