MIAMI -- When Ozzie Guillen held court prior to Friday night's game, the Marlins manager spoke about some subjects of interest to Tampa Bay fans. For instance, Rays manager Joe Maddon.
When asked where he ranked Maddon among managers, Guillen didn't hold back in his praise.
"You don't win Manager of the Year two years just because you're cute," Guillen said. "He's not cute. He's good. He's got the ballclub to do it and his players believe in him and he believes in his players. If I had to rank him, there's a lot of great managers out there, but this man does a lot of great things for his ballclub and especially for his city. It seems like every time he does something, it works for him."
A question regarding whether the Rays and Marlins have a growing rivalry prompted Guillen to talk about the Rays' ballpark situation.
"Build a ballpark for them, please," Guillen said. "Why not? They're playing well, they've got a great organization now. They deserve that. They've earned it. It's fun to watch those guys play, man. It's fun. They play the game good, they play the game right, they play the game hard. They're playing in a very tough division and they kick everybody's butt. I don't see why they don't build this ballpark. They should."
Guillen offered a little self-deprecating humor when the former Tampa Bay shortstop was asked if he could believe what happened with the Rays in 2008 when they had never come close to having a winning season.
"That's why, because they had me on the roster," Guillen said. "Seriously. Baseball is not about names. Baseball is not about how much money you make. Baseball is about how good you play. For the last three or four years, they've been playing great baseball, little by little, inning by inning.
"Safety squeeze in the first inning in the American League? OK. It's 1-0. Now all of a sudden, you look and it's 2-1 in the eighth. And they squeezed in the first inning. Not too many managers do that. But he believed in his pitching staff, he believed in his players. They play pretty solid baseball, day after day."