Ozzie Guillen Squats Over Another Victim

Let’s be honest, baseball lacks compelling figures. Outside of ESPN’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Yankees and Red Sox or Pedro Gomez’s stalking…I mean reporting of Barry Bonds’ every move, very little baseball news connects with anyone besides us fanatics. Well add someone else to this list, as even though he didn’t get much national attention until the World Series, Ozzie Guillen has become the most fascinating person in Major League Baseball.

Besides Bobby Knight, I can’t think of a coach who has become the biggest lightning rod in his sport. Like Knight, Guillen is profane and often out of control. Where Ozzie is diametrically opposite from The General is how he is a media whore, seemingly loving to spout off to the media like Terrell Owens, but without the push-ups. Guillen never turns down a microphone, despite treating English like it’s his 3rd language. Listening to Ozzie is like hearing a Hispanic version of the movie Trainspotting, as the only words that are generally clear are the expletives.

I know many of the traditionalists and auxiliary PC-police members shudder when he opens his mouth, but I find it very refreshing. Ozzie is like a morning shock jock wearing stirrups. While he has mentioned that the managers who have influenced him most were Bobby Cox and Jeff Torborg, his behavior makes it hard to see how they’ve rubbed off on him. In truth, it would appear the managers who he has most emulated are Bobby (the Brain) Heenan, Jimmy (Mouth of the South) Hart, Sir Oliver Humperdink, and Lord Alfred Hayes. Ozzie, the gig is up. Grow out your goatee and wrap a rubber band around it, because I think you are the reincarnation Captain Lou Albano.

Now, I’ve written before that I was not a fan of hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage the White Sox, as I thought when he was a player he was a major league goofball with a minor league bat. While I still believe this about him, I was dead wrong about his managing talents. Guillen has an interesting style of playing to get ahead and then using a deft touch with his pitchers to hang-on for the win. As a White Sox fan, I’m constantly nervous the guy is going have a Jimmy the Greek moment, but so far, his comments have been mainly entertaining.

Looking at his latest diatribe I can’t say I disagree with anything that he said, it was just odd to hear it from a World Champion Manager. When you hear someone talk about Joe Torre being a bit overrated and that the only time Nomar has been to Mexico is on vacation in Cancun, you expect it to be preceded by "hey, long-time listener, first-time caller".

Ozzie’s comments about Alex Rodriguez were a verbal teabagging. As harsh as it came off, I’m guessing most players in baseball would have shook their head yes to what Guillen said. This roasting was nothing compared to what he said about Magglio Ordonez last season, as that press conference sounded like something out of Tony Montana’s mouth. Ozzie has pulled back from his comments about ARod, as he apologized for throwing the first punch. Just to give you an idea of how being a World Championship manager gives you a lot of leeway, he didn’t catch much grief at all for his words. In a world where most managers only offer up clichés, Guillen is almost a John McCain-like figure, wooing the press with his own version of the "straight-talk express".

Ultimately, just like Bob Knight and Billy Martin, Guillen will only get a free pass as long as his team continues to win. Besides the World Championship that he helped deliver, the other thing that has been immeasurable to the White Sox organization is how he’s become the biggest sports celebrity in the city. Sure the northsiders still are the majority, but add up another season like 2005, plus the headline grabbing ways of it’s manager and the White Sox might come very close to drawing even with the Cubs for the Windy City’s attention.

Post Note: Can you imagine what else Ozzie might have said, if he would have been interviewed on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" by anyone else than James Brown? JB is the king of the slow-pitch soft ball interviewers. If Bernard Goldberg or Armen Keteyian would have been on the other side of him, Guillen would have gone off like Jeffrey Ross at a Comedy Central Roast.

14 thoughts on “Ozzie Guillen Squats Over Another Victim

  1. 1.  Ozzie is brilliant in the same way that George W. Bush is brilliant, it will just be decades before anybody realizes it.

    …now I must quickly run away before the blue-state hordes of DT find their way over here!

    “Listening to Ozzie is like hearing a Hispanic version of the movie Trainspotting, as the only words that are generally clear are the expletives.” <– ahh, so true!

  2. 2.  1 Too late! We found you and we will now smear you with brie and a nice white wine! 🙂 And seriously, das, Steve a blue-stater? He’ll want to chat with you!

    As for you, Scott… a little warning next time? If it’s not too much to ask? My desktop is now covered with tea.

  3. 3.  das411- I have no idea how to respond to your post. I wouldn’t term Bush’s presidency as a world champion type performance. In regards to Ozzie, I don’t think he would like the comparison, since he doesn’t seem to like the President (see not visiting White House). Considering he’s good friends with the leader of Venezeula, I doubt the Prez has positive feelings about Ozzie. Is it long before Pat Robertson asks for the head of Guillen?

    By the way, not saying the leader of Venezeula is a good guy. You see, I’m a strange hodgepodge. I’m for less taxes, less government intervention, and less political correctness. Not exactly a Libertarian, as I feel some government programs are important, but I sure don’t see myself reflected in much of either political party.

  4. 4.  I’m neither a traditionalist nor a member of the PC police, I just can’t stand the fucker.

    I’m not even going to touch the George Bush thing. Just not in the mood.

  5. 5.  Well Scott, Bob actually talked about this the other day sort of:

    http://griddle.baseballtoaster.com/archives/320747.html

    Not trying to bring politics into this at all, regarding the whole Ozzie + Chavez thing, but I really do think there are similarities between Ozzie and GWB:

    -the way they both refuse to play the mainstream media’s little games (the blowups with Magglio and now ARod, the MSM “rollback” explained here: http://tinyurl.com/pvojt )

    -the way they both try to win however they can regardless of the “conventional wisdom” and succeeed much more often than not (witness the entire 2005 playoffs and how many “controversial” GWB policies since 2000?)

    -they way they have both changed their respective jobs by redifining what they do and how to do it (first Hispanic WS champion, first MBA and one could argue “hispanic” in the way Clinton was “black” POTUS)

    -last but not least, like you said Scott “I can’t think of a coach who has become the biggest lightning rod in his sport.” Do you think we’ll EVER see a repeat of that SNL sketch in 2000 when Darrell Hammond as Clinton asked, “Do we really need a president?” Whatever your views are of GWB, he has definitely been a lightning rod for the last 5 years.

    “Now, I’ve written before that I was not a fan of hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage the White Sox, as I thought when he was a player he was a major league goofball with a minor league bat. While I still believe this about him, I was dead wrong about his managing talents. Guillen has an interesting style of playing to get ahead and then using a deft touch with his pitchers to hang-on for the win. ” – TONS of parallels here, you may not have meant it this way at all but there is a lot of food for thought here.

    2 – SB, Steve has been ignoring me for a while now…hasn’t he??

  6. 6.  Ack, to try to put that a little more concisely: both Ozzie Guillen and George W. Bush have built their careers around being misunderestimated.

    Ozzie was not “supposed to” be able to beat either the BoSox or the Angels this last postseason, just like GWB wasn’t “supposed to” be able to win against Al Gore or John Kerry.

    Then you look up and the White Sox have won 99 + 3 + 4 + 4 games and Bush has been elected twice with more votes than any man in history.

    Both are revolutionaries, and are changing the way their respective games are played. Like I said in 1 though, it will be a long time before people fully realize this.

  7. 7.  John Kerry got more votes than anyone in history too. Think that maybe there are more Americans alive today than in 1792, 1860 or 1910?? Hmmm???

  8. 8.  Hmmm, Illinois eh? Maybe you can tell me how many of Kerry’s voters were actually alive when ballots were cast in their names there? 🙂

    Sure it’s a larger electorate, but you have to give him some credit for turning that many voters out, as well as for being successfully nominated twice (unlike those two other guys).

  9. 9.  Ozzie v. Dubya, um….

    One rose from poverty in a third-world country; the other was born with a golden spoon in his mouth

    One worked his arse off and made to the big leagues by age 22; the other was a drunken boob until finding Jeebus when he turned 40.

    One made it through guile and wits; the other drove company after company into the ground.

    One is raising three great sons, including one who already has a broadcast career despite still being in college; the other raised a pair of girls who would be mistaken for the Hilton sisters if they weren’t so chunky and were actually so “accomplished.”

    One wins at any cost; the other loses while costing the nation $600 billion/year in defense spending (that’s two grand for every American man, woman and child) while acting under the moronic assumption that you there is a finite number of “terrists” and that they can be bombed into submission.

    One could be elected mayor if he ran; the other can’t win without the Supreme Court, his family connections, and racist scrubs of the voter rolls and the help of highly dubious Diebold machines.

    One pisses off his general manager; the other manages to piss off all of our generals.

  10. 10.  I’ll give him credit for getting fewer votes than Gore in 2000. No matter how shitty the candidates are in 2028, they’ll get more votes than Bush got in 2004.

  11. 11.  Oh please, get over it. Anybody that Ozzie picks on is big enough to fight back. Our Ozzie is no Bobby Knight, nor is Ozzie “out of control”. Trying to drag Ozzie to Bobby Knight’s level is wrong, you really failed to think this though clearly. The Chicago White Sox are highly motivated (NOT intimidated) by Ozzie. Greatness comes from providing the spark that makes Ozzie’s team motivated enough to win the World Series. Ozzie paces the dugout, gets the team motivated and without Ozzie, the Sox would have never won and the team will agree, that’s why he is constantly swarmed by reporters. They sure would have never won anything if Jerry Manuel was still managing.

  12. 12.  Let me begin by stating this is the strangest mix of comments on any subject, that I’ve ever read here. (Well, besides Clay Aiken.)

    I’m going to try to stay out of the Guillen/Gee Dub discussion. Now on to “duh”.

    You could not possibly have read my whole posting to have come up with your response, DUH. I have written many times that I find Ozzie refreshing, including in this column. At the same time, in our PC world, he is walking a very fine line. As a standup comic, quite possibly the only job left where you can escape the PC police, I still know that I walk a fine line.

    Last season, Guillen was overheard by reporters using some language to greet a friend that many consider a slur to homosexuals. Will and I had a discussion about it and I was willing to give Ozzie a pass as I thought Guillen’s comments were made in jocular fashion. Having said that, I do think when you are a manager of a MLB team, you do have some responsibility to not use offensive language in public situations. As I said, it’s a fine line.

    Never have I written that Guillen and Knight’s managing styles are similar. Read the paragraph again. I compared Guillen and Knight because they say things often without any type of restrictor plate. I would recommend you not walk outside during the rain, because you wouldn’t recognize a lighting rod even it hit you square in your DUH. Knight and Guillen are currently the biggest lightning rods I can think of in the coaching profession.

    The players, Owner and GM of the White Sox have all pretty much said that Ozzie is out of control. It would appear to work for him, but it opens him to potshots by fans and the media, if his team isn’t successful. Not saying it’s right, but that is the way we humans generally work, especially in the 24 hour sports new cycle we live in.

    I don’t disagree at all with your notion that the White Sox wouldn’t have won without Guillen, as I’m a Sox fan and I’m fully aware Jerry Manuel wasn’t the answer. You would be naive to think, though, that the reporters aren’t coming after him for his candor even more than his success.

    After winning the World Series, Mike Sciosia and Jack McKeon weren’t asked to be on Real Sports and other shows like it. Just like the cases of Charles Barkley and Terry Bradshaw, being a provacateur is the media’s dream to put on the air. It makes for riveting copy, if it’s thoughtful or not.

    So far, like John McCain, Guillen is getting great press overall. Just like anyone else, reporters like people who make their jobs easier. His straight talk express on the southside is working beautifully. I’m hoping it will continue, but as a White Sox fan, I expect the worse right around the corner.

  13. 13.  Let me begin by stating this is the strangest mix of comments on any subject, that I’ve ever read here.

    If you like, Scott, I can have my step-brother log in.:)

    But seriously, my comment from 2 was a compliment, in case it wasn’t clear; I thought the post was hilarious. And I agree with what I perceive to be the larger point. Baseball and frankly all sports need characters. Baseball is very short on characters compared to the other major sports. Ozzie Guillen is most definitely a character and, at least for me, he adds to my enjoyment of the game.

  14. 14.  13 – Agreed, and if Ozzie broadens the game’s appeal to kids who can relate to and understand him, or even just ChiSox bandwagon fans who ultimately get hooked on the game, then everybody will be better off.

    My comment 1 was originally meant in jest as your reference to McCain in the original post opened the door a crack to throw a political grenade in and try to stir up some discussion. Overall though, it is not a zero-sum game. There can be parallels between Ozzie and Bush AND Ozzie and McCain, Ozzie and Hugo Chavez can be best buddies, and who knows what it all means?

    I hope my posts 5 and 6 cleared up your questions in 2 though Scott. To me the similarities I saw between those two were in personality. I also fully agree with 12 except for one small quibble, as someone who experienced four years of Larry Bowa I have to object to “I do think when you are a manager of a MLB team, you do have some responsibility to not use offensive language in public situations. “ 😉

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