Ready for the second half of baseball

Well, the first half is done, and now we’re getting to the part where the men separate themselves from the boys. I had a great time at the All-Star Game and I’m happy everyone saw a great game with good pitching and timely hitting. We got to see the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera. He has broken my bat before and probably hundreds of others during his career. It was so amazing to see him go out like that in person. I actually shed a couple of tears.

One of the things I love about this game is that even though we all know Rivera is the best ever, he’s still been beaten and walked off on. That’s why this game is so special; you never know what’s going to happen. I’m glad that something positive came out of the game and the couple of days.

Congrats to Yoenis Cespedes on the Home Run Derby win. And Bryce Harper, wow, that young man has some talent. I wish all the news was positive, but the Ryan Braun news came out, and I fear there will be more. Cheating now with the rules that are in place is just goofy. I think Bud has his hands full, but he will do what’s best for the game. I have no doubt about that.

Looking forward to the second half, I see it as a wide open race. Both Detroit and Texas look good, and the addition of Matt Garza will help the Rangers. In the National League, the Cardinals look like the class of the league, but the playoffs are a different world. Pitching and defense win, every time.

Exciting new developments!

ozzieguillenfoundation-1Well, this is a bit weird, but it’s great to be talking to you all again. I’m finally back in the country and in the great city of Chicago! I have been watching some baseball, but haven’t been focused on one team. It’s kind of strange being able to focus on the entire league for the first time in a very long time. Since I have signed on with ESPN and ESPN Deportes for this season, I have to keep track of all the teams and stay on top of things.

I have to tell you, ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., is the place to be. The place is something to see, and being able to work with the people there is even better. Every time I go the experience gets better. They have some personalities there, and getting the opportunity to sit in on “First Take” a couple of times this year will be very fun. I’m excited about sitting in with Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo. It doesn’t seem like work with those guys. I will be around for the All-Star Game and postseason, so it will be nice to stay around the game. Hopefully, you will get a chance to see and I can bring something extra to the broadcasts.

As you may have seen on my Twitter and Facebook, I’m extremely excited about bringing my foundation, the Ozzie Guillen Foundation, to the city of Chicago. We are hosting an event on May 29 at The Grid, and you can find more info on the foundation’s temporary website. It’s really a privilege to bring the foundation to what I consider to be my hometown. My hope is that I can give back just a little to the community that supported me so incredibly throughout my career. Please check it out and consider spending the evening with us if you can.

I will talk to you guys again soon. I plan on writing these more often as the season goes on.

2013 sure to be a busy year

Well, it’s been a minute since I last wrote one of these things, but I’m very excited to be back in the swing of things. I have a lot of things planned for 2013, and I hope it’s going to be a good one. Actually, I’m sure it’s going to be a good one.

My family and I just got back from a weekend in Galena, Ill. I know what you’re thinking (haha). Yes, us Latinos also enjoy the snow once in a while. We had a great time relaxing and enjoying nature – there is nothing like family.

It’s been a little weird seeing Spring Training start and not being a part of it, but I’m over it for now. I’m sure my time will come again.

I’m very excited to announce that I will be joining ESPN Deportes for their coverage of the World Baseball Classic. I couldn’t be happier and I’m looking forward to the games. I love working with ESPN; they are always first class. They know me well and I’m very familiar with them, so hopefully more things will come in the future.

We are also working hard on an Ozzie Guillen Foundation event coming this spring. It will be our first real foundation event in the U.S. and I’m excited for what’s to come. I will be able to give more details soon.

Before Spring Training is over I hope to give you all my picks for the season. Fans just need to relax during this time since nothing is certain. Hope all is well with everyone and speak again soon!

Time for a fresh start in 2013!

Happy new year to everyone! I hope you all were safe and enjoyed time around the people you love the most. 2013 is a chance for everyone to start fresh and think about what happened in 2012. I know I have.

I got to spend the holidays here in Venezuela and go over the options I have on what to do during the baseball season off the field. Not sure what the future holds; I might decide to work, but right now traveling sounds pretty exciting. It’s something I have never gotten a chance to do in the summertime. I have a couple of trips planned already: I’m going to head down to Colombia to watch some bullfighting and then on to Panama to catch up with my good friend Ruben Blades.

So far, the best news I have received this year is that my good friend Ugueth Urbina was released from prison after eight long, hard years. I believe he has served his debt to society and is ready to move on with his life. He came by the house the other day and it was like he had never left. It was great to see him. We have so many great baseball memories together, and he believes we both will come back to the game we love. We will see.

As the season gets closer, I will give you guys my predictions for this year. It’s almost like I’ll be playing fantasy baseball for the first time (haha). I will be looking in from the outside, so it should be fun. Stay tuned.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a little while since I have written, but I have been just relaxing a little bit trying to stay out of the limelight. I spent a lot of time back in Chicago where I will be living for the most part. Yes, it’s freezing, but I had plenty to do to keep me occupied. I have been going to bunch of basketball games, mostly DePaul University. There is something about watching the young kids play that is fun for me.

While doing all of that, I did have the TV on in the background, so I have seen some of the big moves that were made. I talked to a couple of the guys, like Mark Buehrle, and wished them the best of luck. We had a lot to talk about.

For now, I’m back in Venezuela for Christmas and New Year’s. Most of all I’m here because no matter what happens to me, the Ozzie Guillen Foundation always has a lot of work to do. We have done a couple of great events, and there never seems like there is enough time to help out the children that are less fortunate. That’s what we do. We also had our annual Team Pepsi Home Run Derby and as always it was a huge success. Every year stars from the Winter Ball teams and Major League Baseball participate, and it keeps getting better and better.

I will be back in the states in January, but don’t worry, I have a feeling you might be seeing me on TV somewhere in the future. This season will mark the first time since 1982 that I haven’t been associated with a team. It’s going to be a little weird, but everything happens for a reason and I’m ready to tackle the next challenge.

My New Year’s resolution is to lose 15 pounds and I have already started. Better to start early than to start late. Anybody else have a good one for 2013?

It’s time to move on and see what’s next

Well, that was a long vacation in Spain. What a great trip I had over there; I got to spend some time with some of my now my ex-players. It was great to spend such a great time with some great people. I had the opportunity to go to a Real Madrid game and see some bullfights, a lot of bullfights actually. Unfortunately, when I got back, I was the one that got the horns.

I received that phone call that nobody wants to get. It was short and to the point. I went to Miami to win and to be there awhile. That was the plan, but they chose to go in another direction. Money is great, but that’s not what it’s all about. Regardless of what I may say, anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m a competitor, I’m a winner, and I want to win more than anything. I like to keep my word, so I like to go out there and compete. That’s why I love this game so much.

I don’t think I have ever missed a season or not been affiliated with a team since I started playing baseball. Even in 1992, I was part of a team. So, once February rolls around, I’m sure this is going to be a very new feeling for me. With great friends and family I’ll get through this and be better for it.

I want to thank everyone again for all of their support. Even the people who were happy that things ended up this way, thank you as well. My love and respect to you. Thanks to all those who have called me to show their support, even people from my former teams like the Braves and the White Sox. I really appreciate it.

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants and Bruce Bochy; what an amazing job you all did. Congrats to all the Venezuelan players who represented Venezuela in the World Series and made us proud.

Now it’s time to move on and see what’s next for me in my life. Always move forward and never look back.

Thanks everyone for your continued support!

I have been missing in action for a while, but I wanted to write to everyone who has supported me throughout this whole year, as well as to those of you who haven’t supported me, but are still reading this because you just can’t get enough, or something. I’m off later today to Spain, and I am really looking forward to this vacation and getting away from everything for a little while.

No matter what I do or where I go, baseball is in me 24/7, and that’s just the way it’s going to be. It’s very disappointing to see the way we ended this season and I don’t have to remind anyone that we had much higher hopes. But, what’s in the past is in the past. No regrets. Hopefully we can have a great offseason, get back on track, and come back ready to kick some butt.

Jose Reyes stayed healthy, JJ (Josh Johnson), Mike Stanton — all of those key guys being on the field for us was great this year. I loved the fact that every single one of my players played hard every day. That’s all I can ask for. I have to thank them for that. The staff and front office — we all went through this season together. Throughout the good and the bad, we stuck together. We had some good surprises along the way with Donovan Solano and Justin Ruggiano, and I know things will get better overall sooner rather than later.

I’m not a quitter and I will never give up on my guys. Soon enough we will all be in Jupiter, Fla. for Spring Training and the optimism will be back. Good luck to all the guys in the playoffs; make sure you appreciate it because it’s one of the best feelings you will ever have.

Thank you to everyone for their continued support. Have fun and I will see you soon.

Looking forward to the second half

Well, we are here at the halfway point and obviously not where we want to be. We have suffered through some tough losses in the first half. Any time a team loses in the ninth with a chance to win, it’s very hard to watch and can be a huge hit to a team. It’s something we have dealt with this year and something we have continued to bounce back from.

On the bright side, we have a lot of games left in the division. It starts with four games against the Nationals starting Friday, and it’s important we come out with a sense of urgency. We have enough to be a playoff team, and we need a good start to the second half.

I’m spending my break in Chicago. I still love this town and my house here, but Miami is home until October – hopefully late October. I saw Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby, so congrats to him. I thought those royal blue jerseys were pretty awesome. I didn’t watch the game, but my kids kept me posted as to what was going on. Of course I’m glad the NL won.

I was there in 2006 managing when we won it in Pittsburgh. It’s not an easy thing. You have to win the game, make sure nobody gets hurt and try to play everyone at the same time — a lot of things going on in a manager’s mind.

I want to congratulate all the first time All-Stars on an experience I’m sure they won’t forget. As for us, I just hope we come out of the gates clicking and make a run at this thing.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

We had to get a “W” before I could talk to you guys again! It’s just too hard to write when we hit a rough patch. May was very good to us and June has been very bad, but it’s not over yet. It sounds dumb, but we need to finish strong. There is still a lot of baseball to be played. It’s usually the goal of most teams to hit the All-Star break with a winning record, or something close to it. The closer we are to that at the break, the better we will feel.

I have said it before many times: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Right now, I’m just glad we are done playing the American League and that we have some divisional opponents coming up. Playing well against the division is the best way to make up some ground quickly.

Guys are starting to swing the bats better. Heath Bell had a rough outing the other night, but we gave him the ball again last night and he got the job done. We have Boni (Emilio Bonifacio) coming back, and when you have a guy like that coming off the DL, it can be just as good as a trade. We are going to need him if we are going to make a run at this thing.

Don’t give up on us yet, there are a lot of games left. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Patience is essential

So, if you guys haven’t noticed, I’m not big on writing blogs when we are losing or going through tough stretches. One must remember never to get too high or too low; this is not basketball or football. You have to bring it every single day, that’s why this game is so hard. If you fail seven out of 10 times, chances are you will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Baseball is all about failure and how you react to it. In basketball, if you shoot 10 free throws and miss seven of them, you are very bad. That’s why it’s hard to compare baseball to any other sport.

So, we haven’t been playing consistently, and then we run into the American League East boys for a while. Wow, these guys are good. Tampa Bay and Boston can definitely play. I forgot about the American League for a little bit (haha), and certainly don’t miss seeing those guys all of the time. We just need to keep at it.

Great day off spending time with the family on the boat yesterday, and now it’s time for a weekend in Tampa.

Good luck to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals!

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