Thursday, September 29, 2011
On The Departure Of Ozzie Guillen
Man, I picked a great time to start a White Sox blog, huh? Interestingly enough, this is the very first blog post I've ever written about the Chicago White Sox in which Ozzie Guillen wasn't the team's manager. The man was a gift to me and sportswriters everywhere.
Of course, now he'll be providing writers in south Florida with the headlines and stories that he's given all of us the last eight years.
As for how I feel about Guillen and the White Sox parting ways, there are plenty of mixed feelings to offer.
The bottom line is this: it was probably time. A manager like Guillen always has a limited shelf-life before he wears out his welcome. Admittedly, that life can go on a lot longer when a team is winning consistently, but when a team pays nearly $128 million in payroll for a season and finishes the year under .500, we get exactly what has happened.
The simple fact of the matter is that the last two years sucked for White Sox fans. Or at least they did for me. Not just for the failures on the field, but because the last two seasons have basically been a battle between Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams, with the local media all too willing to pour gasoline on the fire.
So instead of focusing on the failures on the field, in the dugout, or in the front office, it's been nothing but Kenny vs. Ozzie. A story line that got tired roughly 20 minutes after it was first published. I can't express how grateful I am that it's finally been killed.
That being said, I'm not exactly happy that Ozzie is gone. The man made a ton of decisions as a manager that drove me insane. He said plenty of things that made me roll my eyes. At the end of the day, though, he was still my favorite White Sox manager of all time.
Right or wrong, win or lose, he was the most interesting person to ever fill the role.
I mean, think of the managers who preceded him. Gene LaMont, Terry Bevington and Jerry Manuel. Three men that, if managing the White Sox today, would be confused with the statues that cover the concourse at The Cell.
On the flip side of that, you're going to see a lot of baseball writers saying that now that Ozzie is gone, the White Sox are no longer relevant. That's one of the biggest crocks of shit you will ever hear.
When writers say that without Ozzie the White Sox are no longer relevant, what they mean to say is that they're now going to have to go back to actually finding interesting stories to write about. They'll no longer just have to go listen to Ozzie talk and get a week's worth of quotes to fill inches on the sports page in five minutes.
The only thing that ever makes a sports franchise relevant is winning. It doesn't matter who manages the team, if the White Sox win, they are relevant. It's that simple. On the other side of town you have the Cubs. The Cubs aren't relevant, they're popular.
There's a difference.
Anyway, I'm getting off track here.
Not only was Ozzie the most entertaining managers we've ever had here, but he was also one of the most successful. He's the only manager to lead the White Sox to multiple division titles, and he's also the man that helped bring a World Series title to this town in 2005.
For that, I'll always be grateful to the man. From time to time I'll put on my 2005 DVDs and see Ozzie celebrating with his sons and his players, and the smile will come to my face.
I'm never going to forget the man, because Ozzie Guillen is a man you can forget. He's a force of nature, and one I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of.
Thanks, Ozzie, and good luck in Miami. Sorry about those uniforms.