Ozzie's just being Ozzie
If you missed
There was the time that Guillen, the White Sox manager, called umpire
And on and on.
Indeed, the amazing thing about Guillen is that he doesn't cause
"Once, twice a month, you're going to have to deal with controversy, or some comment made by him or someone else in the organization," White Sox first baseman
Naturally, Guillen has become known mostly for these controversies. He has been classified as a hothead or a clown. You might not realize what Konerko and most people who know Guillen say, unequivocally: You would like him.
People who are constantly getting into little spats tend to fall into one of two categories: they care too much about what other people think, or they don't care at all. Guillen doesn't care what people think. But he does care about people.
"He is really family-oriented," Konerko said. "If there is anything that comes up, even the slightest bit that has to do with wife or kids, he has no problem saying, just take a day off, do what you have to do. Those things pop up during the season. Even if it's a small thing, that always comes first."
Small things: The lineup card is always posted early in the White Sox clubhouse. Players usually know on Tuesday if they're playing Wednesday. This probably means nothing to you. But it matters to players, who build their workday around this information. You don't make it to your seventh year managing the same team unless players like playing for you.
Guillen goes ballistic if you show up late or don't play hard, but if you play a bad game, well, hell, he had a career on-base percentage of .287. He's played plenty of bad games.
"He understands: go out and give him what you have, and if it doesn't work out, let's have a few beers and we'll go get 'em tomorrow," Konerko said. "And if we win, let's have a few beers and go get 'em tomorrow. That's the drill, no matter what happens, as long as you're giving 100 percent."
When the Sox lose, Guillen is often the one who puts on the music in the clubhouse afterward. Konerko says they even appreciate that he is such a magnet for the media, because this means the players mostly get left alone.
"I don't think it's anything calculated about the team," said Konerko, who admitted he didn't really know what Ozzie had said this time and wasn't in any hurry to find out. "I just think the questions come, and at the right time or the wrong time, he just answers how he answers. I don't think he sits down and says, 'We're on a four-game losing streak, let me talk about this so it becomes a big story.' ... There are a lot of managers out there who don't say anything and are bad to their players. You'll never know who those guys are. So I'll take what we have."
In the visiting manager's office at Detroit's Comerica Park this week, Guillen had one request: go back to the beginning. He meant we should listen to his whole rant, in context, from the beginning. Somebody had asked Guillen about his gifted young Cuban infielder,
That, Guillen said, was his whole point: it's hard for Viciedo. And frankly, if he had just left Japanese players out of it, this would not even have caused a ripple. It was the comparison that got to people. Americans recoil at the notion of playing racial favorites (even though Guillen says that was not what he meant).
But let's take Guillen more literally than that. Let's go back to
They're all chasing a dream. Most guys don't make it. Guillen did -- despite limited skills, by Major League standards, he played nearly 2,000 games in the big leagues. He has spent 25 years shuttling between worlds -- from the fame and wealth of Major League Baseball to the dangerous, poverty-ridden streets of Venezuela, where kidnappings for ransom have been a serious problem for years.
Everything he says falls in the gap between those two worlds. There is nothing in Major League Baseball that can scare him silent, and nothing that will make him forget all those guys in Venezuela who jumped in the net and didn't make it. He could have made a better choice of words this week. He could do that a lot of times. But he will always choose words over silence.