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Thursday, September 11, 2008

TSN: Ozzie Guillen speaks—and speaks—his mind

Even Tom Fontana couldn’t write a better Oz script than this…

SN: You’ve talked before about wanting a small-ball team, but you’ve never really had one. Why is that?

GUILLEN: I don’t call it small ball. I call it playing baseball. Maybe because I was a Punch-and-Judy; my game was move the guy over, bunting, defense. I helped my teams win a lot of games. But we built a different ballclub because • in the summer it’s unbelievable the way the ball jumps out of (our) ballpark. To me, the most important things are pitching and defense. You don’t have pitching and defense, you’re not gonna win. You can score thousands of runs, (eventually) the offense will slow down. Pitching and defense will carry you to the World Series.

SN: Is there a cultural divide between Latino players and American players that is harmful in some way?

GUILLEN: You don’t pick your teammates. You will see the Latinos here, the Asians here, the white guys here, the African American guys here. That’s normal. I don’t expect (Juan) Uribe and (Paul) Konerko to go and have dinner. • I think Latinos are more loud than anybody else. Sometimes the American guys are like, “Shut the (expletive) up, we’ll kick you out.” But I’ve never seen any racist problems since I’ve been here, never seen any player say they were offended by somebody.

Repoz Posted: September 11, 2008 at 03:04 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: white sox

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   1. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: September 11, 2008 at 03:53 PM (#2937837)
Gosh I like Ozzie a bunch.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2008 at 04:01 PM (#2937856)
Is it time to start giving KW and Ozzie their due? They make head-scratching moves, but the Sox have been contenders for much of their tenure, including a championship. I can't believe its all dumb luck.
   3. Shooty is obsessed with the latest hoodie Posted: September 11, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2937862)
Is it time to start giving KW and Ozzie their due? They make head-scratching moves, but the Sox have been contenders for much of their tenure, including a championship. I can't believe its all dumb luck.

I started giving them their due in the offseason after their WS. The moves didn't work out but I admired KW's creativity and energy. Now when he does something that I don't get at first, I find it more useful to try to understand what he's thinking than fire off the snark cannons. They do a good job. And Ozzie, for all his bluster, knows what makes his team good. He actually reminds me a bit of Earl Weaver.
   4. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: September 11, 2008 at 04:35 PM (#2937899)
Ozzie was one of the worst bunters I've ever seen. Also, there was a very real chance he was going to injure himself and everyone else on the field every time he slid. I really like him as a manager though.
   5. SuperGrover Posted: September 11, 2008 at 04:47 PM (#2937923)
I can't see why people don't like Ozzie as a manager. As a Sox fan, I think he does his very best to get all he can out of that roster. Plus, he's hilarious at times. To wit:

SN: You drive in with Harold Baines, your former White Sox teammate and now one of your coaches, to games sometimes. What's the most that quiet man ever talked on a car ride?

GUILLEN: We went one day from Milwaukee to Chicago • he only said three things: "What's up?" "I need a Diet Coke." And, "What time you pick me up tomorrow?"
   6. J. Michael Neal Posted: September 11, 2008 at 05:47 PM (#2938017)
If Ozzie could figure out how not to be jaw droppingly offensive five times a year, I'd like him a lot.
   7. DCA Posted: September 11, 2008 at 06:12 PM (#2938045)
If Ozzie could figure out how not to be jaw droppingly offensive five times a year, I'd like him a lot.

If Ozzie could figure out how to be jaw droppingly offensive ten times a year, I'd like him twice as much. Seriously, I can see that his big mouth might get him in some problems, but as a far-outside observer, I think it's great theater.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2008 at 07:52 PM (#2938171)
I can't believe its all dumb luck.

It's not dumb luck but it is high risk and therefore a sizeable chunk of "luck" involved. Of course, that's not too different from lots of teams.

First, in Ozzie's 5 years, the Sox have had one great season, one lousy season, one average season and this is their 2nd good not great season. That's above-average but nothing dramatic.

As Ozzie says, their team is largely built around pitching. This year the Sox have had 136 starts (in 145 games) out of their original starting 5, those guys all have ERA+ of 100 or better and they're gonna get 1000 or so innings out of their starters. That's the basic Kenny Williams strategy -- place your bets on starting pitching, hope they stay healthy. Last year they stayed healthy but two of them stunk.

Anyway, it is rather staggering I must say. And this might be an area where Williams is much better than any other GM out there -- I'm prety blown away by this. Here are the number of starts made by the Sox top 5 starters from 2004-2008:

2008 136 (145 games so far)
2007 150
2006 158
2005 152
2004 113 (and they only won 83 games)

It's just amazing that in the last 4 years, the Sox have had only 35 starts by guys outside their top 5. Granted, in some years, 1 or 2 of those guys haven't been great. But I've looked before and it seems the average team gets 35-40 starts a year out of guys with ERA+ below 85. The Sox have had just 9 total in the last 4 years (granted, Contreras gave them 30 right at 85 last year but still ... ).

Get about 1000 innings out of your starters, have them be stable and range from "not suck" to "very good" and that is a real recipe for success. It's the same formula lots of teams try to follow, somehow Williams consistently finds pitchers who stay healthy (and maybe dumps them just in time).

So maybe it's not as high risk as I'd think -- he seems to be able to do it pretty consistently.

Beyond that, they have gotten "lucky" in their gambles on some injured hitters (Thome and Dye particularly).
   9. DCA Posted: September 11, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#2938175)
Beyond that, they have gotten "lucky" in their gambles on some injured hitters (Thome and Dye particularly).

I don't necessarily disagree, but it's possible that it isn't just luck that Thome and Dye -- and Quentin, and Alexei Ramirez -- have done well.
   10. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: September 11, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2938183)
First, in Ozzie's 5 years, the Sox have had one great season, one lousy season, one average season and this is their 2nd good not great season. That's above-average but nothing dramatic.


For the White Sox, above average is dramatic.
   11. SuperGrover Posted: September 11, 2008 at 10:17 PM (#2938306)
Beyond that, they have gotten "lucky" in their gambles on some injured hitters (Thome and Dye particularly).


Jermaine Dye wasn't injured when the Sox picked him up. The year prior, he played in 137 games and posted an OPS+ of 105 (not that far off his first season in Chicago). Thome had been hurt, but had played in over 140 games the previous 6 seasons. For the Sox, he's gotten dinged every year, as his back continues to be problematic. I wouldn't say it's lucky to expect a 34 year old to come back from a balky elbow that had never bothered him before.

I think the Sox have done an excellent job of exploiting the market inefficiencies associated with injured players. Sure sometimes it can bite them (Crede, Erstad, MacDougal), but for the most part Williams has been very effective in this market. Given the inherent discount with injured players, it's an effective strategy.
   12. Srul Itza Posted: September 11, 2008 at 11:13 PM (#2938337)
The best player ever (to) play for the White Sox is Frank Thomas.


Nice to hear him say this.

Baseball is entertainment. Ozzie is a great entertainer, in his own way. Give me the colorful guys who stir things up, and keep us amused/bemused and maybe even a little pissed-off, over the bland types -- or at least, make sure there are always a few in the game. As long as they are not screwing their team up -- and there is no evidence that Ozzie is doing that -- they are a part of the fabric of the game.

I think this is one area where baseball has it all over football these days. Most coaches already practice coach-speak religiously, and the NFL has tried to turn all of their coaches into
cookie-cutter corporate clones. There does not seem to be a place anymore for the flamboyant wild man. Baseball still has real red-asses like Sweet Lou, cut-ups like Ozzie, and characters like Jim Leyland. The more, the merrier.
   13. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: September 11, 2008 at 11:44 PM (#2938354)
Where does Ozzie rank among the greatest minority managers of all time?
   14. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: September 11, 2008 at 11:51 PM (#2938364)
Where does Ozzie rank among the greatest minority managers of all time?


He's easily the best Venezuelan manager in MLB history. Al Pedrique can kiss my ass.
   15. Northpaw Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:02 AM (#2938374)
It's hard to believe there has never been a Puerto Rican-born MLB manager. Jose Oquendo will get a chance someday, or he should anyway.
   16. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:14 AM (#2938382)
I thought Sandy Alomar Sr. managed the Padres when his sons were coming up, but I guess not.
   17. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:31 AM (#2938421)
Where does Ozzie rank among the greatest minority managers of all time?


Al Lopez tops the list. Dusty and Felipe have pretty good records without the ring. Cito has one more ring, but his record around those seasons is underwhelming.
   18. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:44 AM (#2938463)
Al Lopez tops the list.


Al Lopez was the son of Spanish immigrants. How would this make him any different than, say Connie Mack, who was the son of Irish immigrants? Both are second generation European immigrants.
   19. csd Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:47 AM (#2938471)
Could somebody tell me what a "manager" is? And a "list"?
   20. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:47 AM (#2938474)
Al Lopez was the son of Spanish immigrants. How would this make him any different than, say Connie Mack, who was the son of Irish immigrants? Both are second generation European immigrants.

Oh, I thought Lopez came by way of Cuban parents.
   21. csd Posted: September 12, 2008 at 12:55 AM (#2938505)
First!

Hahaha! Good one.
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 12, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#2938552)
Where does Ozzie rank among the greatest minority managers of all time?

Does Lou Piniella count? I know people consider him to be Italian, but . . .

It's really tough to say with Guillen because his career is so short. He's off to a tremendous start. He has a lot of talent. The one qualifier I have with him is that if he has to spent a few years on an untalented team, the situation would turn into a complete mess.

In terms of career value, Guilen's behind Piniella, Alou, Baker, Frank Robinson, and Gaston, but I'm probably take Guillen over Baker, Robinson, and Gaston.
   23. Shock Posted: September 12, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#2938862)

Ozzie was one of the worst bunters I've ever seen. Also, there was a very real chance he was going to injure himself and everyone else on the field every time he slid. I really like him as a manager though.


And let's not forget him getting nailed by the hidden ball trick not once, not twice, but three times!
   24. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 12, 2008 at 04:35 AM (#2938956)
Does Lou Piniella count? I know people consider him to be Italian

Portuguese


Could somebody please explain to me what a "minority" is?

a group differing, esp. in race, religion, or ethnic background, from the majority of a population

I'd expect most people of a certain age to know this simple term, but I'm not surprised you don't. Any other stupid questions, don't be afraid to ask! (Or look it up, since you are on the Internet right now.)

Could somebody please explain to me what a "wifebeater" is?
   25. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: September 12, 2008 at 05:34 AM (#2938987)
Is Bobby Cox the best wifebeating manager? I would guess John McGraw qualifies for that list.
   26. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 12, 2008 at 06:45 AM (#2939006)
Guillen's a good manager, but starting Javy Vazquez on three days of rest is a baaaaaaad idea.

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