by Matt Wells
It seems that these days, winning is second nature on the south side of Chicago. Jose Contreras wins every time he is out there. Jim Thome and Paul Konerko seem to produce offensively almost every time they take the field. Yes, the White Sox seem to have that winning attitude.
Of course, the same cannot be said for Ozzie Guillen and his incredibly big mouth. Yesterday (Thursday 6/22), Guillen was fined, suspended, and ordered to attend sensitivity training for slurs against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti. More on that later.Since being hired to manage the White Sox in 2004, Guillen has gone from lovable to annoying to just plain insulting. He doesn’t know when to shut his mouth; of course, he doesn’t seem to care. I can remember laughing at his quotes, for they told me that he loved the game. Now, I just want him to shut up.
Ozzie really got into the public eye when his White Sox went to the postseason last year and eventually won the World Series. Ozzie was not only funny then, but he was knowledgeable as well. He was well-liked and people were tuning into the White Sox news conferences to see what crazy thing Ozzie Guillen would say next.
Some quotes from this past postseason were pure Ozzie Guillen:
“I can eat and drink for free in Chicago. What’s better than that?”
Classic Ozzie. With the White Sox playing winning baseball and Ozzie, starting to put his name on the managerial map, becoming more and more popular, he goes completely off-topic to talk about his celebrity status in Chicago. Now, that’s funny.
“I don’t want superstars. I want good players. To be a good player, you will play to win, not for your numbers or your stats or to be the best in the game.”
Hard to agree with that. We all know that one player doesn’t make a team, and Ozzie was quick to agree with that. A bunch of good players who gel together and win is better than one superstar – just think of the 1998 New York Yankees. See, Ozzie can say intelligent things…
While making people think or making people laugh with his quotes, he also did other things that were pretty gosh darn funny.
Remember Guillen going out to the mound during last year’s World Series and signaling for closer Bobby Jenks? Guillen didn’t tap his right arm signaling for the righty. No, he used his arms to indicate that he wanted the “tall, portly” right-handed pitcher. We all knew what pitcher he wanted, and we all laughed at his antics.
Slowly, but surely, Ozzie has gone from lovable to controversial. How about the quote regarding Alex Rodriguez and the World Baseball Classic in March?
“Alex was kissing Latino people’s asses,” Guillen said in reference to Rodriguez’s indecision about whether to play for the Dominican Republic or the United States in the WBC. “He knew he wasn’t going to play for the Dominicans; he’s not a Dominican!”…”I hate hypocrites: He’s full of [expletive]. The Dominican team doesn’t need his ass.”
While many people seemed to agree with Ozzie Guillen, some believed that he was starting to cross the line that managers shouldn’t cross – criticizing players that don’t play for the White Sox. What’s worse is that the word “hypocrite” was brought into the conversation.
Sure, Alex Rodriguez was making people mad by delaying his decision on where he was going to play. Who wouldn’t, if you’re in A-Rod’s situation? Rodriguez is a duel citizen of the Dominican Republic and the United States. Who knows, playing for a country where you have your roots may be more important than playing for a country you established yourself in.
By calling Alex Rodriguez a hypocrite, Guillen professed that A-Rod is not true to his home country. In other words (and this is a stretch), Guillen called Rodriguez a traitor. Ouch. That’s just something you should keep to yourself.
Fast forward to this season. Fast forward specifically to Saturday, May 20. The White Sox and Cubs were battling each other in interleague play on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The game was running along smoothly until White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski bowled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on a play at the plate. What ensued was mayhem.
Barrett sucker-punched Pierzynski, sparking a brawl involving both teams. The game would be delayed for 15 minutes, as the players needed to be cleared off the field. Talk about interleague rivalry!
Now, Guillen could have talked about the game in general. He could have discussed the play that took place. He also could have told the media to speak to the players involved in the brawl in order to get their account of what actually happened. Ozzie could have even reprimanded his own players. Guess what? He didn’t.
Cubs reliever Rich Hill had some comments about A.J. Pierzynski that Guillen, to be put simply, didn’t like:
“Who is Hill? That piece of [expletive] who pitched? Michael [Barrett] realized he was wrong [in punching Pierzynski]. Michael realized he overreacted. But that little [expletive] Hill, he should be in Triple-A. He is going to make Dusty Baker get fired. Shut up, you just got here in the big leagues. When you make a comment like that, it was a cheap shot. You don’t know the game.”
Of course, one should know better than to say anything about the White Sox when Ozzie Guillen is in their dugout. However, instead of a simple “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” from Ozzie, we got derogatory comments about a player’s professional status and his baseball knowledge. Ouch again.
Fast forward once more to last week. Ozzie Guillen told his pitchers that, if one of the White Sox batters are hit by a pitch, they should retaliate by hitting batters on the opposing team. “An eye for an eye,” so to speak.
After A.J. Pierzynski (again?!) got plunked twice by Texas Ranger pitching, neither starter Javier Vazquez nor rookie reliever Sean Tracey hit an opposing batter.
In fact, Tracey was brought in to specifically hit Texas’s Hank Blalock. He missed. Instead, Tracey got Blalock out. That’s right, he was retired. Congratulations are in order, right? After all, you got the team one out closer to ending the game, even though the result was a loss. Heh…wrong again.
Instead, Guillen pulled Tracey from the game and yelled at him for quite some time in the White Sox dugout. Tracey pulled his collar over his head, presumably embarrassed by Guillen’s tirade. In my opinion, Tracey pulled his collar over his head because he was trying to tune out his manager.
This tirade gathered the attention of all baseball fans. Every sportswriter in America was going to have something to write about the next day. That goes for Jay Mariotti as well.
Mariotti, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a regular panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” criticized Guillen for the move.
“No man who is thinking straight would pull the megalomaniacal b.s. that Guillen did Wednesday night in Texas…my concern is that Guillen’s in-view tantrums and regular rip jobs are beginning to wear thin in his own clubhouse, even after his success last season as a World Series champion skipper.”
Sportswriters are allowed to have opinions. After all, that’s what most sportswriting is all about. Sportswriters see events on the field (or court or ice) develop, and report on the facts. Opinions are added on top of those facts. It’s nature.
Ozzie Guillen didn’t see it as such. Instead of saying that “everyone has their own opinions of what I do,” the answer was:
“What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag.”
Once again, Ozzie makes the front pages for the wrong reason, insulting not only Jay Mariotti (though Mariotti brushed it off), but the entire homosexual community as well. Nice job, Ozzie. How about keeping your opinions to yourself?
Over the span of one year, Ozzie Guillen has gone from funny and lovable to a complete, dare I say, ass. People grip the arms of their chairs whenever Ozzie gets ready to speak. It’s a shame, really.
If the White Sox were a cellar dweller like the Kansas City Royals, Guillen would be gone. Fired. On the streets. Do you honestly think the White Sox organization would keep a babbling insult machine for a manager if the team was constantly losing? I don’t think so.
It’s time to shut up, Ozzie. Let things ride and keep your opinions to yourself. This way, you won’t offend anyone and you can keep the very little dignity that you have left.
“A lot of guys like me. Some guys hate me. But they all respect me.” ~ Ozzie Guillen
Not anymore, Ozzie. Not anymore.