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posted: 3/3/2012 8:03 AM

Managing their way: Guillen and Ventura

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  • Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura. In contrast to the volatile Guillen in Miami and cocky Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox, the White Sox have laid-back Robin Ventura in the dugout.

    Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura. In contrast to the volatile Guillen in Miami and cocky Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox, the White Sox have laid-back Robin Ventura in the dugout.
    Associated Press

  • Video: Ozzie Guillen highlights

  • Video: Robin Ventura interview

Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's a lock the Miami Marlins' new man in charge will be more boisterous than his predecessor. Or any of the other 29 current managers, for that matter.

Boston's first-year manager has already made noise, banning booze in the clubhouse and jabbing the rival New York Yankees.

And what about the trio of rookie managers in other spots? Pretty quiet so far, and likely to stay that way.

In contrast to the volatile Ozzie Guillen in Miami and cocky Bobby Valentine with the Red Sox, the White Sox have laid-back Robin Ventura in the dugout. Unlike Tony La Russa, cool and composed Mike Matheny does not seem like a guy who will blow his top with the St. Louis Cardinals. And Dale Sveum opened Cubs camp with, of all things, a bunting competition.

Baseball 2012 is already about big-time managerial shake-ups, with new faces -- and styles -- in new, marquee places.

On a daily basis, Matheny finds a way to recast his response to the assumption that his first managerial job will be a monumental task. He follows a man who retired third on the career victory list behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw, and has a fellow rookie in pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.

Oh yes, Albert Pujols is gone, too.

Matheny counters that late last August, when the Cardinals were 10 games back in the NL wild-card standings and not World Series champions, they were considered an underachieving team.

"There's other people telling us we can't do better than last year," Matheny said. "As you look at what happened last year, if any of these guys can sit here and tell me that the team can't have a better season or each individual can't have a better season, then we're probably not thinking on the same page."

With Valentine and Guillen, it's a virtual guarantee the copy will be livelier.

"I think it will be a fun, refreshing change," Marlins president of baseball of operations Larry Beinfest said. "I don't know that anybody can be as loud and provocative as Ozzie."

Guillen also is much more profane than a pair of Marlins predecessors, professorial Edwin Rodriguez and 80-year-old Jack McKeon. Left fielder Logan Morrison joked that he counted 107 curse words in Guillen's introductory speech.

The fiery manager takes charge of a beefed-up roster as the Marlins move into a new stadium. He has two rules: Be on time and be with the team for the national anthem.

"He's fantastic, he's super energetic," outfielder Scott Cousins said. "He's a players' manager to the core."

The Red Sox seized the opportunity for a crackdown in the wake of last season's September collapse in the AL East, a meltdown that included reports of starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on off-days rather than supporting teammates in the dugout.

Always outspoken, Valentine has laid down his own law. His years as an ESPN analyst may have conditioned him to be even more opinionated.

"Will there be differences?" team president Larry Lucchino said. "You bet there will be differences."

Boston was 7-20 in September, blowing a nine-game lead for a playoff spot, and Terry Francona was fired for allowing the lax behavior. The Boston Globe reported that starting pitchers including Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester spent some of their off-days drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.

"The rules are not to embarrass themselves or the team, the community, their teammates, themselves," Valentine said last week. "I don't think that's a new rule. That's a long-standing rule of life."

Also something that's been around for quite a while: the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

On Tuesday, Valentine took a moment to poke the Yanks, saying Derek Jeter didn't have to make the backhanded flip that became a signature play and recalling how Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek once "beat up" Alex Rodriguez.

Now for the quieter new guys.

Theo Epstein left the turmoil in Boston to preside over the Cubs' massive overhaul that shed trouble-making pitcher Carlos Zambrano, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and first baseman Carlos Pena. Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach the previous three seasons.

Sveum has 16 games as an interim manager with the Brewers at the end of 2008, so he isn't totally new to the job. He'll emphasize fundamentals and discipline in Chicago.

Among the challenges: improving Alfonso Soriano's erratic outfield play.

"The guy works his butt off all the time," Sveum said. "There's no doubt that the fans lost a little faith in him sometimes with some of the things he does. I think the fans have to understand that he's probably the hardest working guy in the clubhouse and players love him to death."

The bunt tourney served to build team unity.

"Throughout the day, you hear guys talking about it," first baseman Bryan LaHair said. "I've never experienced anything like it. As soon as it went up on the wall, everyone was very excited about it."

Ventura, who starred with the White Sox, took over for Guillen in Chicago.

"I don't look at it as that I'm replacing him," he said. "I can only look at it that I'm just happy to be in this position with the White Sox. You're talking about a guy who played here, managed and won a World Series. Until all that stuff happens, I'm proud of what he did and it's just move forward."

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