June 2011

Q&A: On Twitter, pitchers & 2-strike hitters

After enjoying a nice day off in Chicago before heading to Denver last night, I am rested and ready to go against the Rockies. Denver is a very nice city, I must say, even though we don’t get a chance to be here very often. I’m looking forward to a good series and an opportunity to see a good, young Venezuelan player in Carlos Gonzalez – who can be extremely dangerous — and one of my favorite players in Troy Tulowitzki.

We know we need to start swinging the bats better. In the American League, if you can’t swing the bats, you have no chance. I was happy with the way we played the game this weekend, and I’m glad we had that 6-man rotation. We can now fill-in John Danks’ spot, and I was very proud of Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy, who were all available to pitch this weekend out of the bullpen. I have a lot of respect for all those guys. I also have to mention how happy I am for Davey Johnson and hope he does some good things with the Nationals. They have some good, young talent over there.

So, I had a little more time and the questions keep coming into my website, so here are a couple more answers …

Q: Ozzie, you are my favorite person to follow on Twitter. Many of your tweets are pretty funny. Why did you decide to start an account, and why do you like to use Twitter? — Mike C. (Waukegan, Ill.)

A: I thought it was a fun way to connect with my family, friends, and fans. Glad you enjoy it.

Q: Why don’t managers let pitchers throw 300 innings in a year anymore? Roy Halladay could easily hit that mark if he was left in games a little longer. And why is that magic 100-pitch count held in such high regard? If a guy feels good, shouldn’t you let him keep throwing? – Wyatt F. (Owensboro, Ken.)

A: Because they play 162 games now. These players make a lot more money, and it’s a big risk if they get hurt. Also, pitchers are developed differently these days.

Q: Who is the best two-strike hitter in baseball? – Kevin M. (Atlanta)

A: The best I ever saw was Wade Boggs. Right now, it’s hard for me to say because I don’t see enough of everyone, but A.J. Pierzynski isn’t bad.

Q: What is the worst thing you did to get thrown out of a game? — Brian M. (New York)

A: I can say some pretty bad words to the umpire, I guess. Nothing sticks out.

Q: Dear Ozzie, just wanted to say great tweet to Sean Pean about Venezuela! You clearly have first-hand knowledge, and he is clearly not well-informed. Keep up the great work! – Helen G. (Glendora, Calif.)

A: Thank you very much for the support!

Q: Ozzie, are you going to manage the Venezuela team in 2013? Also, what do you think of the expansion of the tournament to 28 teams? Thanks! — Mark H. (Chicago)

A: I don’t think I’m allowed to manage the 2013 team because I am a current MLB manager. If they expand, it would be very cool, but that also means a lot more games, so there is a downside, as well. If it makes money, it makes sense (haha).

Thank you, everyone, for reading this blog and your support. Until next time …

– Ozzie

Great series win versus the Cubs

What’s going on, everyone? Hope everyone enjoyed that series win versus the Cubs. It was a great series, like they always seem to be, and despite their record, I still feel like they have a very good ballclub over there. It’s good for us to win series; we need to continue to do that and get back to .500, then we can worry about other things. Even though we are playing on opposite sides of town, it was good for me to see Carlos Zambrano pitch well. No matter what, you always want your friends to do well in this game. As for us, our bullpen was outstanding once again, and we got just enough hitting to take the series. I enjoyed my day off yesterday morning with a little golf with my kids, and I’m looking forward to the Nationals coming to town. They are hot right now, so it should be a good series.

Before I answer some questions like I promised to do in my last post, I want to remind everyone that space is running out for my kids summer baseball camp taking place during the All-Star Break. You can sign up now at any of the four Chicagoland locations, and I can promise that all the kids will have a great time. You can sign up here, too.

Now, on to your questions …

Q: Do you still think the Twins will be a contender in the AL Central this season? — Mike K. (Waseca, Minn.)

A: Yes, I do. Those guys know how to play baseball, so no matter how many games they are behind us, they are just as dangerous as anybody else. And as you can tell by the way they are playing, they are going to be right there at the end of it.

Q Ozzie, who was better at the hot corner — Joe Crede or Robin Ventura? – Brandon B. (Chicago)

A: I say Robin because he won many more Gold Gloves and lasted longer than Joe did. But don’t get me wrong, when Joe was healthy, he was very good over there.

Q: How important is it that your players do something to give back to the community? — Pat C. (Naperville, Ill.)

A: I think that’s the main goal other than winning games. That’s what the Chicago White Sox and Mr. Jerry Reinsdorf are all about. They put an emphasis on helping the community, and they do a great job of it.

Q: If the world were ending tomorrow, what would you do tonight? — Tyler G. (Greenville, N.C.)

A: I would have dinner with my kids and spend the night with my wife. A few drinks might be involved somewhere in there. (hehe)

Q: Do you ever worry about losing your job? — Matt B. (Oak Lawn, Ill.)

A: Never, because I have no control over that. I have been on the hot seat since 2004.

You keep sending the questions, and I will keep answering them!!!

– Ozzie 

Hope everyone had a great Father’s Day

First of all, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I hope everyone had a good day. Being a dad is by far my favorite job and the best job I have. I love my 3 kids more than anything, and they are the only thing in this world that is mine.

After a short road trip, our focus now shifts to the Cubs. It’s always a fun series once the games start, but with all the media and stuff that comes with it, it can get a little crazy. I’m very happy we ended the trip on a good note with a series win over Arizona. Hopefully it will provide some momentum for the Cubs series. I really can’t say enough about Phil Humber and the job he has done for us all year. This kid has been so consistent, and I’m very happy for him and the success he is having.

Today we get my good friend Carlos Zambrano and then Matt Garza. They are both very tough guys to go against, but I expect us to be ready to go.

I know that all the games will be sold out, so the atmosphere will be great. Hopefully all Sox and Cubs fans can get along and enjoy the games!

I will be answering more of the questions you guys have been sending through the website later this week. Got some good ones, so stay tuned.

– Ozzie

Things are starting to look a little better

Well, 3 out of 4 against the A’s this weekend wasn’t too bad. I’m very happy with the job we did against both Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez — those guys are tough!  Overall, it was a pretty positive homestand. It was good to be back in Chicago for a while and very good to see Adam Dunn start to swing the bat.  Also, Alex Rios has started to look better taking the ball up the middle, so hopefully this will be the start of something good for those guys. I really can’t say enough about the starting pitching and Brent Lillibridge. Wow, this kid has been a ball of energy, and I’m very happy for him because he works so hard. I told the guys winning is the best medicine for anything, and it feels good that we are winning right now.

Now we head out to what might be the nicest ballpark in the American League — Target Field.  It’s a tough place to play, and the Twins are playing very good right now. I hope we are ready to go and can cool them off against my boy Carl Pavano and start the road trip off right. I’m enjoying the day off here in Minnesota after staying in Chicago last night. Did a little BBQing and watched the NBA Finals. Congrats to Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban. They did it right, with hard work and class. It goes to show you that winning a championship in any sport isn’t as easy as it looks.

 — Ozzie

Switching focus from the Tigers to Mariners

Well … the weekend series against Detroit didn’t go as well as we hoped. Detroit is a very good team, but with that being said, we just didn’t hit well enough with runners on base, especially against good pitching. We had Justin Verlander on the ropes a couple of times and just couldn’t get to him. Gotta give them a lot of credit though — they are a good team. I wanted to see how we responded after Miguel Cabrera beat us in the late innings. Tough to get down about that because he does that to everyone.

I’m very happy the guys were able to forget about the weekend and switch focus to the Mariners and get a much needed win last night. John Danks pitched a great game and finally got a win. He is too good to have the record he does, and I know he will be just fine. We get King Felix tonight, so we will see what happens. In any case, I expect our guys to keep battling because this year is far from over. We still have a large window to make some noise.

It was very unfortunate to see Jake Peavy go down again, but luckily, we have a five-man rotation now that has been set up. I fully expect some of our guys to pick up the slack, though, as we are in June now and the All-Star Break isn’t that far away. Hopefully, we can gain some more ground before the break and put ourselves in a position to compete ion the second half.

Also, I have to give it to the fans — we had a great crowd of more than 30,000 against the Tigers this weekend. That’s what I like to see!!

And for those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know I got the chance to go to the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday morning and wow, what an experience. Those traders are nuts! But the energy in that room was incredible, and I really enjoyed my time there. I’m not sure you will ever see me in a trading pit again, but at least I have the jacket for next time I’m there. What do you think, how do I look?

At the Chicago Board of Trade

Enjoying an off day after a great finish to the road trip

What’s up, guys?? Yes, it was a crazy couple of days in Texas and Toronto, but we left Boston on a very high note. Any time you are able to go into Fenway Park and sweep a team as good as the Red Sox it’s pretty awesome. I’m sure all the guys are feeling pretty good. We went 5-5 on another long road trip and, of course, we would have liked to have been better, but all things considered we will take it. We finished by playing what is probably our best series of the season.  The pitching was good and the hitting backed them up. Right now, it just feels good to be back in Chicago enjoying a much-needed day off.

Today I’m actually filming the TV show “Iconoclast” with Ruben Blades, who if you don’t know, is a legend. I can’t wait to see my good buddy and get this thing going; it should be a lot of fun!

It’s back to work tomorrow with Detroit rolling into town. It’s a big series, we know, and we will be ready to play. We know we are in a position right now where we can’t afford to give many games up. Now’s the time to try and build on some momentum. Hope to see many of you out at the ballpark during this nice homestand.

On a sadder note, I hope the Bulls are proud of what they accomplished this year and are not ashamed at all. It was awesome what they did because at the beginning of the year nobody expected them to go this far. The Heat were just a little bit better, but I know the Bulls will be back next year ready to go. Congrats to D-Rose, Joakim Noah and coach Tom Thibodeau on a great season. I’m hoping the Sox and Cubs can make the summer even more interesting for the fans!

Ok, now it’s time to enjoy the day off.  Talk to you soon!

– Ozzie

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