November 2010

Q&A: Arizona in the spring, Kenny Powers & Magglio

Hey, everyone! I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and ate a lot of turkey and mashed potatoes! Here are some more of your questions answered:

Q: Ozzie, what do you think about Arizona? Do you have any favorite restaurants down there, and how do you like having Spring Training there?

A: Arizona has great weather, even though it’s kind of weird because in the morning it’s freezing and then gets very, very warm during the day. I love the amazing golf courses they have out there, even though I need to get a lot better! Our Spring Training facilities are very good and convenient for the managers and players because they are all so close. It allows us to take batting practice in Glendale and then travel to our road games and back quickly. “Mastro’s” and “Mariscos Chihuahua” are my two favorite places to eat, and I go there often. In fact, I take the Arizona grounds-crew guys out to eat every year at one of those places. I love those guys.

Q: Will you invite Kenny Powers to camp next spring?

A: I would love to have Kenny Powers in camp. I also want that YouTube kid, Keenan Cahill — the little guy with the glasses. That guy is great! 

Q: Are A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko staying?

A: When you guys ask me questions about players, you guys are asking the wrong man.

Q: As a former resident of Berwyn, Ill., do you ever get a chance to make it back? Any favorite restaurants?

A: Yes, I have some good friends in the Berwyn Police — Jimmy Sassetti is my guy! My favorite place to go eat is :Mr. Tacos,” and I remember Orlando the Barber.

Q: Is there still heat between you and Magglio Ordonez?

A: No, me and Magglio did what we had to do. We moved on and respect one another. I’m happy when he does well.

Q: What are your thoughts on global warming?

A: To be honest, I really don’t know that much about global warming. I do know that we need to try and take a little better care of our environment, no matter what you believe.

Thanks for all the questions, and remember to keep them coming! 

– Ozzie

Miami, Football and Family

MIAMI — What’s up, everyone? I’m coming to you from sunny South Florida. The great thing about being in Miami is that I can watch Venezuelan TV and Winter Ball games. It makes me feel like I am home. It has been a very good week for me. I had a great time at the Bears game last Thursday. Even though the game was kind of boring, it was great to tailgate with family and friends. It was good to see my youngest son, Ozney – who I don’t get to see a lot of — and one of his best friends and hopefully future MLB star Manny Machado. The Orioles are lucky to have him (watch out for this kid). That was the first time I had ever tailgated, and it’s easy to see that no one travels like Chicago fans. I want to say thanks to all the fans who saw me and came up to say hi. I was happy to take pics and sign autographs for everyone I could. It was so weird being in the stadium and not knowing where home plate was supposed to be! And contrary to some reports I heard, I was not wearing any football gear. I tried as best as I could to wear neutral colors. I will say that Florida fans can learn a lot from Chicago fans!

Here are some of the pics from the game:

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Ozzie6.JPGA lot of people have been asking me to talk about the trade rumors that were out there involving me, so I thought I would address it once and for all. I want to first say I don’t know too much more about the rumors than anyone else. When I first heard of it, I felt very proud. It’s always good to feel wanted. When you’re a coach, you never think of your name being mentioned in a trade with some of the best future players in the game. At the same time, I felt very confused. Even though I’ve never considered myself untradeable like Michael Jordan, I never really thought the White Sox would consider trading me for anything. As far as I’m concerned, I am still proud to continue to work for the White Sox, and I will continue to do so with the same work ethic, attitude and passion I always have.

Make sure you keep asking me any questions you want. I will be answering more later this week. Don’t be scared!

‘Til next time …

– Ozzie   

Q&A: Jeter’s Gold Glove & whether I’m truly ‘crazy’

This week, I had the great opportunity to go with Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor to Woodside Ranch, a new sports complex they’re building in Mauston, Wis. This place is gonna be mind-blowing and great for the kids up there. I only wish I had something like that when I was a kid!!! I want to give a special thanks to Damon Zuwalt and Orlando Cepeda Jr. I had a great time up there doing this, and it was good spending time with you guys. What can I really say about Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor, besides the fact they’re Hall of Famers and they played the game right. They were what I felt were two of the best right-handed hitters I ever saw.

This week, I’m going to Miami to see my son, Ozney, even though he clearly is doing fine without his parents. I hope to catch a couple of his games, but the game that is really going to be fun is the Bears-Dolphins game — and, yes, I will be tailgating. It will be fun to be in South Florida and around my old stadium (when I was there, they called it Pro Player; but who knows what they call it now). I will be sure to try and post some pictures.

OK, now on to the questions. 

Q: Do you think Derek Jeter deserved a Gold Glove this year?

A: I’m not really in a position to judge whether or not he deserved it, but in my opinion, there were a few guys better than him defensively at shortstop. Some who come to mind are Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus and Yuniesky Betancourt. And not because they are all Latinos, they were just better at playing shortstop this year.

Q: Does it bother you that sometimes your “crazy” antics get in the way of how people perceive you as a manager?

A: First of all, I’m not crazy, because crazy people, the way I see it, are in hospitals and mental facilities. I’m not going to any of those places any time soon, unless you ask my wife and she might agree with you guys. I am honest; there is a big difference. I say what I believe to be the truth. It doesn’t bother me that people see me that way because I know what I’m doing on and off the field, and especially with my relationship with my players. Don’t forget that I have been in this country since I was 16 and have learned many valuable lessons throughout that time.

Q: Do you get much of a chance to sign autographs for fans during Spring Training?

A: Yes, I get a chance to sign autographs before and after games. During practice a lot of times when fans are waiting around, I usually stop by and sign more than a couple at a time. I never say “no” to an autograph unless I’m busy, because if I have time I usually say “yes.”

Q: As a player, what were the best and worst playing surfaces you ever played on?

A: The best playing surface, by far — and this is no lie, you can ask anybody in the game, and they usually give the same answer: Comiskey Park (or U.S. Cellular Field), to me, is the best and always will be. Thank you to “The Sod Father,” Roger Bossard, and his grounds crew — those guys are amazing and make me a lot of money (hahaha). The worst had to be old Anaheim Stadium and Tropicana Field because it played so fast. But, remember, I haven’t played since 2000, so I’m sure they have changed.

OK, that’s all for now. Remember to keep the questions coming! Talk to you guys soon.

– Ozzie   

Q&A: Bullfights in Spain, the best in MLB & loans

Before I answer a few more of your questions, I just want to say I read a lot of your comments here on my Blog, my Facebook page and my Twitter account, and I want to clear up some confusion we might have … I have NO say or make any decisions as to what offseason moves my team should make. Sometimes they ask for my suggestions and I give them, but for the most part, I don’t deal with that stuff. I just manage the team.

Q: Do you think Chris Sale has a chance to start in 2011?

A: I think Sale does have a good chance to start, he has done it before when he was in college. But I think he would be great out of our bullpen.

Q: Ozzie, can I borrow $10,000?

A: I would give you $10,000 if it was for a good cause.

Q: What are some good, easy Venezuelan recipes I can make?

A: Cachapas, I believe, are very Venezuelan because in all other countries they instead make pabellon and arepas. So, I believe cachapas are only in my country, and I really like them a lot. Not sure how you cook them, but it should be easy — lots of corn and cheese, and it comes out looking similar to a pancake.

Q: Where would you recommend visiting in Spain if we only had a week?

A: I was just in Spain. If you go there, you should visit Madrid because of the energy, food and great sightseeing. And if you like bullfighting, you will go to Seville like I did.

Q: Ozzie, my friend, I’d like to know if by any chance you’re helping our beloved Tiburones [de La Guaira, a Venezuelan pro baseball team] improve our performance this year. We could really use your help in these troubled times.

A: I don’t help the Tiburones. I’m their No. 1 fan, and I watch every game I can. But I don’t help. I’m good friends with President Francisco Hernandez and Vice President Antonio Herrera. I wish them the best of luck.

Q: In your opinion, who is the best player in the game, and who is the young player you think has the brightest future?

A: The best players we have in our game right now are Josh Hamilton and Robinson Cano, because they do it all. The ones I see with the brightest future are Chris Sale of the White Sox and Austin Jackson of the Tigers, because they have what it takes to triumph in the Major Leagues.
 
Before I go, I wanted to give a shoutout to my people in Venezuela, especially where I was born in Ocumare Del Tuy, where I played baseball growing up in Los Teques, and to those in Guarenas and Guatire, where I lived many years and where I met my wife, Ibis. And a shoutout to everyone else reading. Keep asking.

‘Til next time …

Ozzie

Sparky, the World Series and the offseason

CHICAGO — What’s up, everyone?I finally made my way back to Chicago and
thought I’d share some things with you all. Man do I love this city,
even though I’m freezing my butt off!

Unfortunately, yesterday the baseball community lost a true legend. Sparky Anderson
was a great man and will truly be missed. I was lucky enough to watch
Sparky manage my favorite teams and player of all-time. Growing up in
Venezuela, the only games I was able to watch were those of the
Cincinnati Reds teams of the ’70s (especially the ’75 and ’76 teams) and
my favorite player, Dave Concepcion. I was also fortunate enough
to play against him when he was in Detroit and would be blessed one day
to have as many rings as he does. A lot of people have been asking me
if I have any Sparky stories, so here’s something I remember — even
though it might be hard for some of you to believe it. Sparky Anderson
intentionally walked me twice in my career to pitch to Sammy Sosa.
Yes, the same Sammy Sosa who hit over 600 home runs — although back
then he still had his Jheri curl and was a little darker (hahaha). Sparky was a great baseball man and will be missed.

I want to congratulate the San Francisco Giants, especially Aaron Rowand, Juan Uribe and Bruce Bochy.
My experience at FOX was awesome, and I can’t thank everyone enough.
But seeing those guys celebrate is what makes me excited to come to
work. I hope I can do it again some time soon. I love this game so much,
I want to be around it whenever I can. Both the front offices of the
Giants and Rangers need to be applauded. I got to the World Series in
’99 with the Braves and know what it feels like to lose. It takes a lot
to get there, and those guys should be proud. I watched a little of the
parade in San Francisco and it was great. those guys won because they’re
carefree spirits. They play the baseball I like to play.

Now that I’m back in Chicago, I plan on seeing a couple of Bulls games like I did last night. (Thanks to all the fans who came up and said hi.) I live close  to the United Center and enjoy supporting the young kids they have, like Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. Plus, I have always been a fan of basketball.

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I
also want to go see a Bears game, but I’m not sure it will be here in
Chicago. Us Latinos will freeze out there in this weather. I am planning
on heading down to Miami to see them play the Dolphins. It will be a
lot warmer, but don’t worry, I will be rooting for the Bears. When I’m
in Miami, I enjoy golfing a lot and watching my youngest son, Ozney,
play at his Junior College. I think I’m going to crash at his place and
make him cook for me or something (hahaha). I have a lot of good friends who live in Miami in the offseason. I play golf with Joey Cora a lot and get to see Freddy Garcia
and his kids, who are a part of my family. Even though we try to relax,
we always end up talking about baseball. we Guillens live baseball
24/7, and I even named my dog “DH” after my good friend Harold Baines.   

I hope you all got a chance to check out the Jimmy Kimmel
joke about me. If not, you can look at my previous post. It’s very funny
stuff. I read all your questions and comments, and I love it, so please
ask me anything. Don’t be scared (haha). Maybe you guys can
teach me something. It never hurts to listen to advice. Now it’s time to
go relax this offseason with a little music, the beach, and of course
baseball because the chaos never stops!

Talk to you guys soon, very soon.

Ozzie  

I made it on Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel can’t understand a word I say. Very funny stuff.

Q&A: The DH, Omar, Big Red Machine, Venezuela

ARLINGTON — I promised to answer as many questions as possible. We’ve got some good ones on here already. Keep them coming!!

Q: Do you think Omar Vizquel has a chance to be a good manager for a baseball club?
A: Omar, I think, will be good at anything he does because he is a professional and very respectful. He knows the game, and if he wanted to be a manager, I would support him. 
Q: What is it like going from player to manager? 
A: Being a player was easier for me because I would only worry about myself all the time and do the best I could. When you’re a manager, you have to deal, every day, with 30 players and a whole staff. That’s what makes my hair gray (haha). 
Q: Who was your favorite teammate? 
A: I had a lot of great teammates, but my two favorite were Harold Baines and Joey Cora
Q: As an American visiting Venezuela, what are the coolest things to do/see? 
A: You have to visit Los Roques, Canaima, the Tepuis, Pico Bolivar and Merida. Catch a winter-ball game — Caracas vs. Magallanes is very good. 
Q: If you were commissioner of baseball, what are some of the things you’d change? 
A: I would make both leagues use the DH one year and no DH the next year so there is no more complaining about it. 
Q: As a manager, what is your favorite “road trip” city and why? 
A: My favorite cities are Seattle because of the food and San Francisco because it reminds me a little of Caracas, where I grew up. 
Q: If you could start your career in baseball all over again, what would you do differently? 
I wouldn’t change anything because I think things have gone very well, and if I’ve made some mistakes, those things happen for a reason. 
Q: In comparison to when you first started playing in the big leagues, do you believe racism is still a factor with new Latin ballplayers? 
A: First and foremost, there’s always going to be racism, not just in baseball but in the entire world. But now it is much easier, and the conditions are better in the Minor and Major Leagues. When I started, there were very few of us Latin ballplayers. But now, there are many Latins in the game. But I also speak English now — not very well, but I speak it. 
Q: What’s up with the fact that the only [critical member] of The Big Red Machine (I understand why Pete Rose isn’t in) who hasn’t been enshrined in the Hall of Fame is David Concepcion? 
David has been my favorite ballplayer since I was growing up, which is why I wear No. 13 in his honor. I believe the reason he hasn’t gotten in is because the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame think David wasn’t any better than many other ballplayers. But that’s solely their opinion. 
Q: Did you want “El Toro” [Carlos] Zambrano on your team?
A: “El Toro” is my friend and a very good pitcher. Like everybody, though, he just made a mistake. But they gave him another chance, and I think it’s going to go well for him in Chicago — just not with the White Sox. I wish him the best. 
Q: Would you consider being a civil rights spokesman after your career in baseball? 
I love politics, and I read a lot about it. Like you all know, I have opinions about everything, but at the same time, I stay on baseball and on television. Me, politics? I doubt it. But you never know (haha). 
Ozzie 
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