February 2011

I have so many lineups running through my head

What’s up, people?! I wanted to write a quick blog to let everyone know how it’s going down
here in Arizona. Now that all the
guys are here, it’s been really awesome. I love my job!  From what I
have seen it really looks like everyone is here ready to work. It’s been awesome just seeing the
positive attitudes everyone has come to camp with.

I have a lot of ideas going through my head and have been
playing around with so many lineups for months now. In reality, I hope I can just stick to one because that means
everyone is healthy and it makes my job a lot easier. Same thing goes for the bullpen and the starting staff. I
really enjoy watching things come together. It has been very good to see Jake Peavy progress forward; I hope
he can get healthy and really help us out this year. 

As for what else I have been doing? If you follow me on Twitter, you know I had a great time watching the NBA All-Star Game festivities Saturday night. I love my man Charles
Barkley
… always entertaining! 

Make sure you keep your questions coming in the “Ask Ozzie!”
part of my website. I love reading
them, and I know a lot of people have been asking about the lineup. This is what spring is for. We will
sort everything out and put the best lineup on the field.

Who is coming to see us in Spring Training this year??

Ozzie 

Your questions, answered from Spring Training!

How’s everyone doing?? Last week was a great first week in Arizona. I had a few minutes, so I thought it was
a good time to answer some more of your questions …
Q: Ozzie, given (Bobby Jenks’) departure and the “closer” job being up for grabs, how do you feel about the Sabremetrics view that the closer’s role
is not practical. Outs are outs, and if you rely on a “closer” to get
outs when you need them to win the game, why not use them in a crucial
situation earlier? Would you/have you consider(ed) using a “closer”
early in the game? Why not send out the best guy for the job irrelevant of
their relief-pitcher label?
– Matt M. (Plainfield, Ill.)

A: You know, I have never felt comfortable doing that before because I
have never done it. I feel like
everyone has a role on the team and I trust the guys in front of the closer to
get the job done.

Q: Ozzie, I grew up watching you play with “La Guerilla” of the
Tiburones de La Guaira … but I was a Leones fan. Great rivalry in those
days. The question: Who is, in
your opinion, the next Venezuelan Hall of Famer? (I say Vizquel.)
– Ricardo S. (Ann
Arbor, Mich.)

A:  Omar Vizquel; I agree
with you.

Q: Why has the Caribbean Series gone down as far as competition? Why do you think that is? – Jose S. (Guarenas, Venezuela)

A: The Caribbean Series has gone down in terms of competition level because there are a lot of players that they don’t let play. Also, before they would pay players to go to the Caribbean Series, but now everybody has money. (hahaha)

Q: Whats up, Ozzie! Lets take the division and make some noise in the
playoff this year, papa! Baseball is a long season, sort of like going all 12
rounds in boxing. Who are some of your favorite boxers?
– Octavio G. (Southside
Chicago)

A:  Thank you, we will
try. Julio Ceasar Chavez, Roberto
Duran
, Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali. I also like Angel Zanoa, who as a 13-year-old kid beat the crap out of me; I will never forget it! (hahaha)

Q: Hey, Oz, great job with getting the site up. Do you think (Paul Konerko) has a legit chance at the HOF? Why or why not? – Mike C. (Schaumburg, Ill.)

A: I think he has a shot
because you will not see any players anymore with 600 home runs getting in. You will see players who did it clean
getting in with less home runs, so I definitely think he has a chance.

Q: How do you feel about the pitch counts? Players like (Nolan) Ryan or (Steve) Carlton, etc., never worried about pitch counts and completed games and did
well. Do you think that maybe pitchers now don’t get the arm strength because
they are not allowed to pitch past a certain count?
— Paul D. (Washington, Kan.)

A: I do believe in pitch
counts because of the endurance of the pitcher. Back in the day, I don’t know what those guys were made of (Iron and steel, maybe? I don’t know.) but it was very impressive.

Q: Hey, Ozzie, I’m really looking forward to this season. I know it’s
going to be great. My question is: What do you do after you get ejected from a
game?
– Andrew H. (McHenry, Ill.)

A: I go take a nap or
watch some Spanish soap operas. I
don’t watch the games — maybe once in a while when I hear the fans screen to see
what is going on. And, of course, I
do all of this while eating some popcorn.

Q: Hey, Ozzie. … What is your greatest memory while playing Winter League ball with the Tiburones de La Guaira? Who was your best friend inside the team? Tons of luck in the upcoming season! Regards. – Carlos T. (Valencia, Venezuela)

A: Thank you! My best memory was playing for “La
Guerilla” in the 80′s, and my best friend was Gus Polidor. May he rest in peace.

Q: What’s up, Ozzie! Have you kept in contact with our World Series MVP, Jermaine Dye? He was a heck of a ballplayer for the White Sox. Was there ever a
thought of bringing him back as part of the coaching staff?
– Octavio G.
(Chicago)

A:  Yes, man, JD is my boy; I love him and his family. To be a
coach, you need to have desire and passion for coaching, and I’m not sure JD has
that. You also need to be very
vocal, and I’m not sure JD wants to coach yet.

– Ozzie 

Joey Cora needs to get his golf swing fixed

Finally in Arizona

Hey, everyone. I’m here, and it is awesome! Wow, I really love Arizona, but only for Spring Training. Went over to the stadium this morning to take care of a couple of things and tomorrow we will be ready to roll!
Went out and golfed at the Wigwam Golf Course today with Joey Cora and my son Oney. We golfed the gold course and found out why nobody likes to play that course — it’s so big and very difficult. Oney won, and yes, he is still talking about it and probably will be for a while. There were a few laughs — if you haven’t already, please check out this video of Joey’s golf swing. (hahaha) My god, I think he needs Hank Haney or someone to help him fix that!
OK, now it’s time to get cooking on the grill! It has been a great first day here in Arizona, and be sure check out the photo gallery on my website for all the pics from today.
– Ozzie

My bags are packed & my golf clubs are waiting!

Today is finally the day! I wanted to write one more quick blog for everyone before I leave for Arizona. My bags are all packed, and my golf clubs are already waiting for me. I’m actually even taking my English bulldog with me this year so he can keep me company because all Joey Cora wants to do is talk about baseball, and I get enough of that at the stadium.
I really hope the fans are as excited about this as I am. I hope you all come out and support this ballclub. It means a lot even for the fans that come out in Glendale and support us and enjoy the sun. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see us in Glendale, the facility is awesome, and I am sure if you can get away from Chicago for a few days, you will love it.
For me, April 1 can’t get here quick enough. I will be posting new blogs, pictures and videos all through Spring Training, so make sure you keep checking out the website! Remember, dreams come to those who go get them.
– Ozzie 

Another Q&A before I leave to Spring Training

Your questions keep coming in, and I’m doing my best to get to as many as I can! Spring Training is getting closer and closer. My bags are all packed and my golf clubs are already waiting for me. Some fun stuff is going to be happening on my website very soon, so make sure you keep checking back. 
Q: Glad to see you are here for at least one more year. How does going into a season without a solid contract for next year affect you and the players? Keep up the great work! – Dennis B. 
A: Thank you. I think there is more responsibility because it shows me that the front office has a lot of faith in me to run this ballclub. My expectations are high, so let’s hope for the best.
Q: Hey, Ozzie. So glad I could get a hold of you this way. I would love to see Bobby Abreu on your team. What are your thoughts on him? – Rodolfo T. 
A: Bobby has always been one of my favorite players. On top of us having a friendship, to me he’s one of the best natural hitters in baseball. To me it’d be a great honor to be his manager. 
Q: Hey, Ozzie, what’s up? I’m just wondering, what are your thoughts on managing the winter-ball team in Venezuela? – Jesus R. 
A: Of course, but just because I’d like it, not because it’ll happen. Because if it did happen, it would mean I’m not managing in the United States. 
Q: Hey, Oz, what’s up? How do you see the team this year, and who do you think is the key to the team? – Randy E. 
A: I think if the team stays healthy, we have a good chance to win. 
Q: Ozzie: First off, this is about as excited as I’ve been about a Sox team in a long time! Questions is, I really like what I saw out of Dayan Viciedo toward the end of last year, but don’t really see where he fits on this team (especially with Brent Morel the likely candidate at third base heading into 2011). What does Viciedo need to do to find his way into our lineup … soon? – Adam T. 
A: It’s hard for me to say right now because Dayan has moved around a lot. We all know he is one day going to hit in the big leagues, but right now that is a question for other people to answer. 
Q: Hi, Ozzie. I went to the Ozzie Guillen Roast and had the good fortune of taking a picture with you. The suit you had was very sharp. My question is, where do you shop for your clothes? What brand is your favorite? – Manuel T. 
A: Thank you for coming to the Roast. First of all, I am like a girl when it comes to clothes; I love it. The suit I was wearing at the Roast came from my good friend Joe Maya from Joe Maya Clothing in Miami — 777 N.W. 72nd Ave. Go check them out, they are awesome! My favorite brand for jeans is True Religion, and I like Michael Kors shirts of any kind a lot, as well. 
Q: Joey Cora is one of, if not the, best bench coaches in the Majors. Yet he keeps getting passed up for manager positions. Do you think he’s being given a fair shot? – Luke R. 
A: I know Joey is a great baseball man. I have learned a lot from him. I’m very surprised as to why he is not managing because I feel he is ready and has been ready for the job for many years now. 
Q: Ozzie, who was your idol both as a player and as a coach? Who did you look to for tips in both categories? Go White Sox! – Kevin W. 
A: David Concepcion was my idol as a player. As a coach or manager, I would have to say John Vukovich, the longtime third-base coach with the Phillies and Cubs. As a skipper, I have always said I looked up to Jeff Torborg, Bobby Cox and Jack McKeon
Q: Hi, Ozzie. … Thank you for being Venezuelan. … I am proud of you like all Venezuelans should be. Can you tell me what is the level of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in comparison with other American leagues? USA, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic … why have the Venezuelan baseball teams failed in the World Baseball Classic? — Kervis P. 
A: I think the Venezuelan league has more support from the fans than any other league. Every stadium is packed. I believe the Venezuelan and Dominican leagues are the most competitive. The reason why the Asian teams win the WBC is because they are more prepared and have been playing together much longer. 
Q: Ozzie, I have been a fan since the mid-’80s. How do you think this year’s lineup would match up to the Sox of the mid-’90s, especially the year of the lockout (’94-’95)? – Adam L. 
A: The ’94 team was a great team, but it’s hard to say how good we would have been because we never finished that season. And this year’s team, I don’t know how good we will be because we haven’t started. (haha)
Q: I’m heading down to Spring Training in the beginning of March. I was wondering, what is your favorite place to have a nice dinner while you’re down there? – Thomas W. 
A: Well, Mastro’s is very good. And I’m a steak guy, so I also like Fleming’s. If you like sushi, you should try out Blue Fish. 
Q: What city you travel to during the season has the best food besides Chicago? – Shawn C. 
A: Hands down, the best food is in Seattle and San Francisco. Boston is also up there.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, do you know what Luis Salazar is doing now? Thanks. – Joe S. 
A: I think Luis is working in the Minor Leagues for someone, but I’m not sure who. 
Q: Ozzie, why don’t you run for mayor in the city of Chicago now that your friend Richard Daley is leaving office? – Aaron G. 
A: Hahahaha, because I’m not that good. I feel like Mayor Daley did a great job, and whoever is the next mayor has a tough job ahead of them.
Q: Is there anywhere online that I could purchase Ozzie Guillen Foundation apparel (hats, T-shirts)? – Ryan V. 
A: This summer, you can get all the Foundation gear and a lot more. I have some surprises for you guys this summer. 
Q: Congrats on the Web page, Ozzie. I’m a huge fan. What do you think about Carlos Subero’s departure from the team? I feel like the team took off cold and he was wrongly accussed. Thoughts? – Luis G. 
A: Personally, I think that once again, when players play bad, they let go of the manager. That’s why it’s very hard to manage in Venezuela. But I think he did a good job with the team. That’s my opinion. 
Q: Mr. Guillen, with Spring Training right around the corner, I wanted to ask — how much more difficult is it to assess players in Arizona (with the thin air) as opposed to Florida? – David B. 
A: It’s a little different, especially for pitchers because you don’t sweat as much and your breaking balls don’t break as much. 
– Ozzie 

Q&A: On Aparicio, Sarasota and activating myself

How is everyone doing?? Hope you all dug yourselves out of the snow in Chicago. I answered some more of your questions. Keep them coming, I enjoy reading all of them. Before I answer them, I would just like to say this post is dedicated to Fermin Marmol Leon — may you rest in peace. 
On to your questions… 

Q: Ozzie, when I was growing up, I was a huge fan of Luis Aparicio, who of course if from your home country of Venezuela. Did Luis’ career inspire you, and do you know how he’s doing? I haven’t heard much about him since he retired in 1975. Best regards, and go Sox! – Mike W. 

A: I grew up with Luis Aparicio’s uncle, who helped me out a lot. But no, Luis was not one of my inspirations. I was a little too young for his time. Luis right now is in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, enjoying life! 

Q: Who was your favorite speaker at your Roast? – Bob C. 

A: My favorite speaker at the Roast was my son, Ozzie Jr., and Peggy Kusinski was also very good. But the best all around was probably the host, Chris Rongey

Q: Miss Spring Training in Sarasota at all? Speaking for many Sox fans here, we miss you guys! Once enjoyed having a cold one with Ron Schueler after a round of golf and saw him call the dugout during a game to talk to Terry Bevington about you playing right field. Remember that game? – Scott H. 

A: No, I don’t remember that game, but I do miss Sarasota; had some great times and memories there! I have to say, though, that I love where the Sox are right now in Arizona. 

Q: You seem to like looking into the crowd during games, so what is the craziest thing you have seen in the crowd? – Anthony D. 

A: Once back in the ’80′s, when I was playing at Old Comiskey Park, I saw a couple being … let’s say “intimate.” (hahaha)

Q: Which Venezuelan will be part of your team this year? Who is the White Sox’s No. 1 Venezuelan prospect? – Hector F. 

A: I am very proud of once again having Omar Vizquel on my team this year. I can’t answer who the best prospect is because the Minor League system is very large and my focus is on the big team. 

Q: If you could play ball with any player on today’s team, who would it be and why? – Kyle B. 

A: Good question, but I would play with my whole team if I was playing. They all play hard and have fun doing it. That’s the way I played. 

Q: Ozzie, would you ever wanna be the owner of the winter ball team Tiburones de La Guaira? Would you ever want to be their manager? – Juan C. 

A: I have always wanted to be the owner of the winter ball team Tiburones de La Guaira. If I had the money and time to invest in the team, I would. Right now, I have to take care of my three kids — imagine me taking care of a whole team. (haha) But you never know what the future might bring! 

Q: Once the Sox clinch the division in September, is there any chance that you will activate yourself for one game and come in as a defensive replacement and play alongside Vizquel? That would be great! – Jimmy Z

A: I would never activate myself. I respect baseball, the players and the fans too much to do that.

Q: Hello, Ozzie. You had your extension picked up through 2012, but you will be managing the Sox way past that, right? Please. – Will O. 

A: I hope I am managing the White Sox for the rest of my life; that’s my goal. But it’s not my choice. 

– Ozzie

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