'The Franchise' details Ozzie controversy

'The Franchise' details Ozzie controversy

'The Franchise' details Ozzie controversy
Before taking the field for the first day of full-squad workouts in Spring Training, Marlins president David Samson uttered some profound words at a team meeting.

"Good morning, guys," Samson greeted the rebranded Miami Marlins. "We are a completely different team this year. All eyes are on us, for better, for worse."

How true.

The focus of Showtime's reality series, "The Franchise," the Marlins are in the public eye like never before.

A special preview of the series, which will run regularly in July, aired on Saturday night.

The half-hour episode was entertaining, enticing and enlightening.

"When you're under the microscope, everything is exaggerated," Samson said.

With full access to private meetings and phone conversations, the preview of "The Franchise" had plenty of drama.

In great detail, the episode showed the inner workings that led to manager Ozzie Guillen being suspended for comments he made to Time magazine about Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The incident created such an outcry that it put Guillen's job in jeopardy.

"Here's the universe of things that you do when you have an issue with your employee," said Samson, talking directly to the camera with his hands spread apart. "Nothing. Termination. This is about as bad as it can get, without getting to termination."

Two days before the team decided to suspend Guillen, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria weighed the options.

"My initial reaction was, 'Wow, this is not the Ozzie I know for all these years,'" Loria said to the camera. "But I realize we had to deal with this, and deal with this quickly. It was on Sunday that I addressed this in my own mind, and explained to our organization that we needed to get Ozzie down here, so he can be the man I know he is and address the situation properly, head-on, and make things better."

The Marlins were in Cincinnati at the time, and about to head to Philadelphia. Guillen headed back to Miami on April 10, an off-day, to address the media.

Samson and Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest informed Guillen that he was being suspended for five games shortly before the manager met with the media at Marlins Park.

"I don't even know how to say this -- we need to move past this, and we're going to. Together, always," Samson told a distraught Guillen. "We're going to win championships here, but we have to suspend you. We have to. We're doing it for five games."

Responded Guillen: "I feel terrible. I feel bad. I can't eat, I can't sleep, it's been very tough. I never feel that way before in my life. Ever, ever, ever ... ever."

Why five games?

"There were a couple of thoughts thrown around," Loria said. "There was a two-game suspension, a three- or four-game suspension. I just unilaterally said it's going to have to be five games, and that's that."

On Tuesday, the day the suspension ended, Samson again sat down with Guillen for a pregame talk.

"I'm going to tell you where we are as an organization," Samson told the manager. "It's been the worst week we've ever had, just on the phone all day, every day, dealing with it."

With the suspension over, Loria noted: "He's extremely sorry. And, it's time to move on."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.