Results tagged ‘ Ozzie Guillen ’

It Was Just a Matter of Time

(more…)

A Little News Here, A Little News There

59546472.jpg

The early days of spring training, the time before the exhibition games begin, don’t bring a whole lot of news, but we all know that’s not the point. The point is that baseball is back.
So, while pitchers and catchers enter their fourth day of getting back to their summertime routines and only a handful of position players have reported for duty, the news is slim aside from the proclamation that Chris Sale will be in the bullpen. The following will have to do for now:
Adam Dunn reported to camp early and had to explain to his son why his number has changed from his familiar No. 44 to No. 32. The reason? Peavy is 44.
Mark Buehrle, two-time Gold Glove winner and the author of the best defensive play of 2010 (on Opening Day), flubbed a few grounders in drills yesterday. In typical Mr. Perfect fashion, he laughed it off.
Jake Peavy‘s first start of the spring is now scheduled for March 4 in Tempe against the Angels. Considering how important he is to the starting rotation, it’s something we should all keep a close eye on.
–The spring games will determine the makeup of the Sox roster and what the complement will be regarding pitchers and position players. At this point it appears everyone is in agreement that 12 pitchers is preferred, but the fact that a fifth starter won’t be needed until April 10, might mean 11 will go North for Opening Day.
–No surprise here: Ozzie told reporters he goes more on instinct than relying on computer printouts. Duh…
–A couple of ex-Sox notes: Joe Crede decided not to report to Rockies camp and instead opted for free agency…Centerfielder-turned-pitcher Brian Anderson is now a candidate for a spot in the Yankee bullpen. He pitched in the Royals’ minor league system in ’10.

SoxFest Day 3: Weekend Ends With Sox Fans Excited About Upcoming Season


fjfMuwhX.gif

It was a weekend Lovefest at SoxFest.

Optimism reigned as it was obvious that the “All In” approach to the 2011 season has made a huge impact on Sox fans.
The annual Pale Hose celebration ended Sunday just in time for fans to get home or go to the nearest watering hole to watch the Bears-Packers title game. But regardless of the football fever in Chicago, thoughts were also focused on February 17 when the Sox pitchers and catchers report.
More News & Notes…

* The most interesting tidbit to come out of Sunday’s sessions was Ozzie revealing that he chose to audition Chris Sale as the club closer at the end of the season even though Bobby Jenks was healthy enough to pitch. 
* It was obvious from those fans in attendance over the weekend that the White Sox faithful is sick and tired of losing to the Twins. The consensus from the Sox, whether it was the Chairman or the players, is that tighter defense and being more fundamentally sound in all phases of the game are the keys to detroning Minnesota in the A.L. Central.
728x90_cws_st_now2.jpg

Day 1: SoxFest More Like an OzzieFest

58945929.jpg
The first day of the annual SoxFest celebration turned out to be quite a day for the Sox skipper.
A group of fans broke out into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in honor of Ozzie’s 47th (celebrated on Thursday), a brand new website, ozzieguillen.com, was launched and, most significantly, the Sox picked up Guillen’s option for 2012.
The extension wasn’t a sure thing as we all know. After a hellish (Ozzie’s sentiments, not mine) summer where he bickered with GM Kenny Williams, dealt with his son Oney‘s annoying tweeting (my view, not Ozzie’s) and was on the verge of being traded to the Marlins, Guillen’s future was certainly in doubt. But when all was said and done, Williams had his back.
“I’ve never doubted the man’s managerial ability and the ability to pull people together,” Williams said at SoxFest, according to Mark Gonzales of the Tribune.  “Listen, we all can get off track a little bit, and we (did) last year. All I want us to do is to get back on track and focus on the baseball team and the fans. They’re hand in hand. Everything else, I want out of the equation.

“And I wanted to get that (option) thing behind and move on and enjoy the game. I always enjoy the game. Go about my business the way I always do. We know it was a tough season last year. We just put everything behind, and everything goes well.”
More from SoxFest:
* It was apparent that the GM was unhappy with his pitching coach Don Cooper‘s comment that he would prefer that Chris Sale prepare for a single role as opposed to preparing to be a starter and reliever. Here’s Williams’ view: “…to have Sale prepare as a reliever and take away one or two of his pitches, because that’s what guys tend to do, I don’t think it’s wise. My pitching coach will ultimately fall in line with his general manager and his manager. Coop should probably speak to us before he speaks to you guys.”

* Sale’s immediate future, of course, will depend largely on Jake Peavy‘s progress. Reports range from he’ll be ready on Opening Day to him stepping into the rotation by May 1.
* Mark Buehrle is the latest Sox star to be headed into his “walk” year. Where does he stand? “If I have a good year and something happens, there’s an opportunity out there to sign and I’m open to it. I’ll talk with the wife and play for a couple more years, possibly. So we’ll see. It’s a long year. If I decide to retire at the end, I’ll retire. If not, I’ll sign somewhere.”

* With third base (Brent Morel, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel) and first base (Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn) spoken for, Williams indicated that Dayan Viciedo is spending time learning how to play outfield to give him a shot at the Opening Day roster. The GM says Viciedo has done well so far.

58945940.jpgMatt Thornton, decked out in a Brian Urlacher jersey at yesterday’s SoxFest, shows where his football loyalty lies.

The 12 Days of White Sox Christmas


4769f04f6823c44537e95.jpg

In the spirit of the season…

The First Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…1 great offseason, filling our stocking with a load of talent–and hope–for the upcoming season.
The Second Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…2 free agents with Sox World Series rings in Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski.
The Third Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…3 possible closers in Matt Thornton, Chris Sale and, if needed, newcomer Jesse Crain.

The Fourth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…at least 4 solid starters in Mark Buehrle, Edwin JacksonJohn Danks and Gavin Floyd. Make it five if Jake Peavy recovers from his injury and six if Sale is in the rotation.

The Fifth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A solid No. 5 hitter from a talented group who, from what Ozzie has indicated, could very well be Alex Rios–hitting behind the powerhouse duo of Adam Dunn in the three hole and Paulie batting cleanup.

The Sixth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…The annual 6 games against the Cubs next season–three at home on May 20, 21, 22 and three at Wrigley Field on 
July 1, 2, 3.

The Seventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…a 7-game homestand leading up to the ’11 All-Star Game in Phoenix against the Royals and hated Twins as the Sox attempt to match last year’s first-place standing at the break.

The Eighth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…8 games against the 
Yankees in 2011–four in April (25, 26, 27, 28) at Yankee Stadium and four in August (1, 2, 3, 4) at the Cell.

The Ninth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 9, Sox icon Minnie Minoso, who is still going strong after celebrating his 85th birthday last month.

The Tenth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…A 10-game opening homestand after starting the year with five games on the road in Cleveland and Kansas City. The Sox will face the Rays, A’s and Angels at the Cell from April 7-17.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…No. 11 on the back of Omar Vizquel‘s uniform, as the future Hall of Famer honors the great Luis Aparicio for the second straight year after an outstanding first season on the South Side.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas the White Sox gave to me…All in all, a whole lot to look forward to as we head into 2011.
Happy Holidays!
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

13 Reasons Why We Need Ozzie

OZZIE-GUILLEN-CITIZEN.jpg
With Ozzie Guillen being front and center this postseason on
FOX’s pre-game World Series coverage along with the recently published stories
about how he was coveted by the Florida Marlins, a very familiar thought comes
to mind:
The White Sox need No. 13 and we should be thrilled to have him as
our manager.


Why, you say? Here are 13 reasons why.

1.  The White Sox, one of baseball’s most anonymous teams
despite a world title five years ago and an A.L. Central crown in 2008, need a
national standard bearer and Ozzie is it. Without him the Sox would be even
more invisible on the national stage. His TV gig helps put the Sox square in
the spotlight, though we all agree it pales in comparison to the South Siders
actually being in the Fall Classic.

2.  Ozzie is one of our own and wants to be in Chicago with
the Sox. While he played briefly for the Rays, Orioles and Braves and coached
for the Expos and Marlins, he’s White Sox through and through and understands
the South Side mentality.

3.  Despite the national obsession with sensationalizing
his controversial episodes and ignoring his managerial skills, Ozzie is an
excellent skipper. From taking the heat off of his players to his in-game
strategy to keeping his players loose, he’s one of the most underrated field
managers in baseball.

4. Part of being a good manager is showing faith in your
players. Although he’s painfully straightforward and honest to a fault, Ozzie
consistently supports his troops, whether boosting the morale of a player in a
slump or letting a starting pitcher go the extra inning.

5. He’s funnier than any comedian I can think of. Win or lose,
it’s always a treat to listen to Ozzie’s pre-game and post-game 
analysis–not to mention hearing his views of the world.

6.  Ozzie has always shown reverence and appreciation for
his mentors and those who paved the way for him. For instance, he has often
extolled the virtue of recently retired Braves manager Bobby Cox and has been
respectful of the long line of Venezuelan shortstops that preceded him, such
Chico Carrasquel, Luis Aparicio and Dave Concepcion. I also saw Ozzie beam with
great pride during the ’05 Series when the great Latin American players were
honored.

7.  I’ve always
liked Ozzie’s fearlessness. Whether it’s criticizing an umpire, chiding the
self-important Buck Showalter or, in his playing days, trying to cut Frank
Thomas’s ego down to size, he fears no one.

8.  While Ozzie is
extremely loyal to his coaches and staff, he hasn’t let that get in the way of
doing what’s best for the team. For instance, he let go of coaches Tim Raines
and Razor Shines, who Guillen apparently felt weren’t up to the task.

9.  In addition to
making the tough calls on coaches, Ozzie has also helped get rid of players who
weren’t as committed as he would have liked them to be. Carlos Lee comes to
mind.

10.  Ozzie has been
known to be generous.  When he was
a player I was present when he told a few of the White Sox staff during a road
trip to go to a particular New York City tailor and order new suits–with his
compliments.

11.  Ozzie loves his family and countries, two noble qualities. He’s obviously a great Dad and while he couldn’t be prouder of his Venezuelan heritage, he was equally as proud on the day he and his family became American citizens (pictured above).

12.  Ozzie has been
very active in the community and it appears he sincerely likes giving back–from
his foundation to the substantial Sox volunteer efforts to his Easter Seals
association.

13. On a personal note, I had a nice encounter with Ozzie about
a year after I presented him with a framed picture of his family that appeared
in
Sports Illustrated.
I was in the White Sox clubhouse and Ozzie glanced at
me, trying to remember who I was. I reminded him that I was the guy from SI who
gave him the framing. He came over, hugged me and told me to go in his office
to look at it. I thought that gesture said a lot about Ozzie as a person and
another reason why we need him in a White Sox uniform.

 

 

mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

White Sox Look to Viciedo and Morel as Possible Pieces to 2011 Puzzle

56486564.jpg
Dayan Viciedo (above), Brent Morel (below), Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza found themselves in the Sox starting lineup last night as the likes of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, Manny Ramirez and the injured Gordon Beckham were firmly planted on the bench in the third base dugout.

Ozzie apparently felt that giving the youngsters some playing time was more important than the Sox extending their three-game winning streak and finishing the season a game shy of 90 victories. The Good Guys wound up losing to the Tribe, 7-3, after Tony Pena surrendered three runs in the first.
With so many questions that need to be answered, it’s impossible to predict what roles, if any, the above four prospects will have with the big league club in 2011. In my view, Morel could certainly be the starting third baseman and Viciedo either a DH or maybe the first baseman if Konerko doesn’t return. With his great speed, De Aza is a possible fourth or fifth outfielder. Pun intended, the bloom could be off the Flowers rose. He no longer looks like the blue-chipper both the Braves and White Sox thought he was. I would be surprised if he’s in the picture next season.
With two games remaining, it’s uncertain who Ozzie will put on the field. But there is still something to play for. I would like to see Mark Buehrle get to the .500 mark tonight with his 13th win and it would be a nice sendoff for Edwin Jackson, who has been less than stellar lately, to shine in his last start of the season.
morelb12.png
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Ozzie, Manny and KW on Sox Future

56399739-27221748.jpg.gifThree games against Boston and three against Cleveland are all that remain on the Sox 2010 schedule as they sit eliminated and nine games in back of the Twins.
So what’s there to talk about? Here’s three items that come to mind:
* He’s Baaack: Ozzie had his sit downs with owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams and it seems as if Oz got the assurances he was looking for so he’ll be back in 2011. I know it was a cause celebre for a few days because of the constant controversy that surrounds Ozzie, but this might have been much ado about nothing. Regardless of what anyone says, Guillen needs the Sox and the Sox need him. A match made in heaven for sure.
 
* Oh, Man, oh Manny: I was on the record at the time we acquired Manny Ramirez as saying that regardless of the outcome, it was a wise decision to take the chance on the slugger. I still feel that way so you won’t see me second-guessing the move. That said, Manny has been awful and has had zero positive impact with his .258 batting average, one homer, one double, two RBI and 21 strikeouts. His 15 singles and 12 walks have contributed to his .410 on base percentage, but it’s all been meaningless. And last night’s lack of hustle going into second base was inexcusable–but typical of what you get with him.
*What’s Next: So where do the Sox go from here. I’ll let Williams explain: 
“Every year, I go through three different scenarios. Where we are currently, which right now is kind of middle of the road. Yes, we have potential to be that notch above, but I have to look at where we are right now. You look at going out and adding the necessary pieces through free agency and through trades where you think you can compete for a championship.

“After that, you take a look and say, ‘well, if we have to go the other way because of budgets or my pie-in-the-sky thinking, we aren’t going to be able to afford it,’ then what’s the best young team we can put out there and start the process?

“It wouldn’t be the typical rebuilding. We’ve worked hard over the years here to make sure we are never in a position for total rebuilding kind of project. If you just look around the field, we have good young players under 30-years-old that are some of the better players in the league. I don’t think that’s the case, but if you have to filter two or three young guys around that position player-wise and maybe someone in your bullpen, well then that’s going to be called, I know how that works in Chicago, it’s going to be called rebuilding.

“In our minds, it’s still with the midset of trying to win. One you start using the “R” word, you create a different kind of mindset. I think a part of what we’ve done here is making sure our players understand that whatever the composition of the team is, it’s designed to win.”

56354712.jpg


mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Ozzie Belongs in a White Sox Uniform

Ozzie and Kenny.jpg
You won’t find many White Sox fans who support Ozzie Guillen as much as I do.
Mostly due to the constant controversy that surrounds him, he’s grossly underestimated as a manager. Just as important, he’s one of us–a White Sox guy through and through–and he is the face of the franchise nationwide. For a team that struggles with its identity even in its own city, the importance of that reality can’t be ignored. And I haven’t even mentioned that he brought us a World Series ring.
Now, as this schizophrenic Sox season comes to an end, Ozzie is asking for his bosses to give him some love beyond the security of being here one more year with an option for another–vested if he wins the A.L. Central next year. The skipper seems to want an answer as he sees the Marlins job his for the taking. How do you say leverage in Spanish?
Despite those voices that keep saying that Ozzie has lost the team, and point to the September collapse as proof, I want him back. White Sox World needs him for the reasons expressed above and I don’t want to be in the position of regretting his loss after he’s left. His departure has all the makings of a perfect example of how you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone.
Because of his intensity and passion, I’ve also been a big fan of Kenny Williams. While he’s made his share of miscalculations, he’s been outstanding overall. I have to admit that his recent admission to how he’s been affected by the stress of the job troubles me. Especially when it’s put in the context of deciding who’s more important to the Sox–Ozzie or KW–and who will stay and who will go.
As the drama unfolds in the weeks ahead, it may very well be a matter of choosing one or the other. It’s my contention that what’s best for the White Sox is to make Ozzie happy and promote Williams, who would then be off the daily rollercoaster. This would open the door for the club to give the GM job to KW’s No. 2 Rick Hahn, who would give the Sox a fresh approach as they attempt to be consistent contenders in the A.L. Central.  
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif

Second Place, Manny and Looking Ahead to 2011

56225943.jpg
Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?

–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?

–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?

–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?

–What will become of Freddy Garcia?

–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?

–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?

–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?

–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?

–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman? 

–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?

–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back? 
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
mlblogs_100_icon (2).gif
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.