No more interim label. No more sentimental stories about becoming the first Puerto Rican to manage in the Major Leagues.
From now on, Edwin Rodriguez is the man.
No doubt, Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria hit the equivalent of a home run.
Loria named Rodriguez his manager for the remainder of the season in his own backyard in Puerto Rico during the San Juan Series 2010 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in the three-game series against the New York Mets.
Rodriguez was named interim manager last June 23 when Florida fired Fredi Gonzalez, its all-time “winning-est” skipper. Gonzalez was dismissed after going 276-279 in 3½ seasons.
However, Loria is giving Rodriguez the responsibility of making his dreams come true.
Since spring training, Loria has said that he entered this season with expectations for the Marlins to be a playoff contender and nothing less.
Loria surely hopes that Rodriguez will pull out some kind of sorcery like Jack McKeon did back in 2003.
In 2003, Loria had the same expectations from his team: a post-season appearance.
After a 16-22 start, manager Jeff Torborg was fired and veteran McKeon was hired to replace him. He led the team to the 2003 World Series victory against the New York Yankees.
It all sounds like a magic trick. However, Loria is well known and will not accept excuses.
Seven years ago the Marlins were in fourth place and 11 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in National League East. As of June 29 this season, the situation looks similar. The Marlins have a 36-40 record and are in fourth place, eight and one half games behind Atlanta.
Rodriguez knows that this is his big chance.
Only in October we will know if his adventure turns into a fortuitous reality. Who knows? He could be the second Latin American Manager to win a World Series.
Rodriguez should ask for advice from Ozzie Guillen. In 2003, Guillen was the third base coach for the championship Marlins team, and later on, the man of the moment lifted from the bench his 2005 Chicago White Sox World Championship.