September 2011

Can’t wait to get started in Miami!

This has been a tough couple of days for me and my family. Change is never easy, especially when you are leaving an organization you spent 22 years of your life with. The Chicago White Sox were the first organization to give me the opportunities to both play and manage in the big leagues. For 22 years, I tried to give them everything I had every day. In 2005, we were able to do something that hadn’t been done in 88 years — bring the World Series trophy back to the city of Chicago. Handing that trophy over to Mr. Jerry Reinsdorf is something I will never forget because I knew how important it was to him. That was a dream of both of ours, and no one will ever be able to take that away from us.

I want to thank everyone that made my years in Chicago special. First of all, I had the opportunity to manage some great players and need to thank them for coming to the park ready to play every single day. Thank you to my great coaching staff, the front office, Minor League department, security, grounds crew, everyone that works at the ballpark and everyone that worked for and played for the White Sox from 2004-11. I also can’t thank the fans enough for the love and support they showed me and my family throughout my career. I hope that support can continue in the future. Chicago will ALWAYS be my home, and my message to all the fans is simply this: I will forever love you and will never forget you.

As I’m sure most of you know, a new chapter in my life began today. It’s hard to explain how happy and excited I am to be joining the Miami Marlins organization. I’m honored that they wanted me to be a part of this new era in Marlins baseball. I want to thank Mr. Jeffrey Loria, Mr. David Samson, Mr. Larry Beinfest, Mr. Michael Hill and Jack McKeon for everything they have done for the Marlins organization and the opportunity they have given me. My goal is to make them and Marlins fans everywhere proud of their team. I can promise you that we are going to play the game the right way. I am really looking forward to the future and can’t wait to get started!!

Thank you, Chicago

As many of you know now, yesterday I managed my last game for the Chicago White Sox. This has been a very hard time for me and my family, but I want to thank the great fans of the city of Chicago for the support they have shown me and my family during my 22 years with the organization. As I said in my press conference, Chicago will always be my home. It’s hard to say what the future holds for my family and I, but one thing is for sure — I can’t wait to start a new chapter of my life. I also want to quickly thank my great coaching staff and players, who were always at the park working hard everyday.

While this is a sad time, I know there are better days awaiting me in the future! Thank you again for your support during my time here. I will always have love for my people in Chi-Town!

Back home to close out the season

Well, we were back at it in Chicago this weekend. The weather is cold and windy, with a little rain. It’s not very good but hey, maybe I need to get used to it already. Had the chance to stop by and see my good friend at the dentist’s office, Dr. Jack Ruby. It’s always good to see him. His staff always takes such good care of me and my family. He is one of so many others that I don’t even want to begin to name because I might forget some. I have had such great friendships during my time here in Chicago.

OK, back to baseball. We would really like to finish this season in second place. I know for most fans that doesn’t seem like much right now, but for me and the coaching staff it’s a huge deal. Of course we would have rather been finishing in first place, because I believe — just like Ricky Bobby — if you’re not first, you’re last. I love that movie! Hopefully we can finish strong here the last series and the fans can come out and show their support. We get the Blue Jays for a couple games this week and then it’s time for everyone to go home.

One more thing: I will definitely have to watch “Money Ball” sometime soon. Looks like a good movie about a good GM; what do you guys think from seeing the previews?

Q&A: The season is winding down

The season is winding down as we finish up our final road series here this week. I think one thing I can say about this team is that it fought hard. We had several challenges this year and the guys didn’t quit; we were right in it with a couple weeks to go, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year.

On a brighter note, this past weekend in Kansas City I had the opportunity to attend the Negro League Baseball Museum Legends luncheon with Frank White and Willie Wilson. It was an honor to sit by those two men that played the game the right way. This was not my first time to the museum, and if you have never been, I strongly suggest you go and check it out. The place is an absolute temple. I believe every baseball player and fan coming through Kansas City should check it out and appreciate the history of the game. I guarantee it will make you love the game even more and make every player appreciate what we have. Here is a picture of a couple of fans I got to meet while visiting the museum.

OK, now on to your questions. I have to say, I was expecting some harder questions, but not to worry I still appreciate all your support!

Q: My kids are still talking about getting to meet you at the Binnys. They were in awe when they saw you. My daughter, who is 13, was like, “Ozzie is such a cool dresser” (haha). And my son, who is 7, thinks it’s the coolest thing that we have the Ozzie bobblehead that you said you had never seen before. Now it’s signed! Just wanted to let you know the Weber Family will be truly sad if you are not with the Sox next year. To us you are the face of The Chicago White Sox! — Nicole W. (Chicago)

A: Well, thanks Weber family! And tell your daughter thanks for noticing my clothes (haha).  I love meeting true fans. Thanks for coming out.

Q: Hi Ozzie, I wanted to know how can I get your autograph for the best man in my wedding. I think that is the best present I can give him. Thanks, Andres. — Andres C. (Hollywood, FL)

A: Send what you want signed to the address that we will give you.

Q: I can’t count how many games I’ve been to in my life. Raised three kids as die hard Sox fans here 100 miles south of Chicago. You really have had our support all these years. Winning the World Series still gives me goosebumps. One thing though: I can’t stand watching Rios come to bat. Thanks! — Mark K. (Chatsworth, IL)

A: I appreciate all the support.  If you can’t watch it close your eyes, I guess (haha).

Q: I wanted to ask you if you knew that you do have fans in Cleveland. I think you are by far the best manager in all of baseball, thank you for a chance to tell you! — Bernie H. (N. Ridgeville, OH)

A: Well, I’d like to think I have fans all over. I’m actually in Cleveland right now, come on by and say hi. Thanks for the great compliment.

Q: Hey Ozzie, I sure hope you remain the White Sox manager for a long time to come. I love the fact that you speak your mind when other people are afraid to. I can’t see anybody else running this team. I hear a lot of people on the radio and on the internet, a lot of those people will be very sorry if you are gone. I will be sorry if you’re gone.  — Jeff K. (Chicago)

A: Thanks for the support, it means a lot. And the second part is not up to me, I made my plans clear a long time ago.

Until next time…

— Ozzie

The last road trip of the season

Well, that was another tough series. Got to give a lot of credit to the Tigers; they have beaten up on just about everyone the past month and are playing great baseball. It’s time for us to head out on the last road trip of the season. At least we get to head to Kansas City and visit my favorite road stadium. I probably will get a couple of rounds of golf in, as we usually do there. They have some very nice courses. My job as a manager is to finish the season; I love this game way too much to not push through. Our players need to do the same. I have never and will never lose the fight I have for this game. Once Sept. 29 comes, then I will take a break.

Much thanks to everyone who continues to support us.  Here are a couple more questions you guys sent in:

Q: If you could have one active player to build a team around, who would it be? — Checkers L. (Warrensburg, MO)

A: Well, that’s a tough question to answer because I don’t see a lot of everyone besides my guys.  What I can tell you is that I think pitching wins games, so start with that and you got a good chance.

Q: Thank you for your visit today at Binny’s in Bolingbrook!  It was really very special for me 🙂 ILY!  — Elizabeth G. (Mayacay, VE)

A: I loved visiting Bolingbrook and it was really a wonderful experience.

Q: Congratulations on giving Venezuela a good name while you have managed the Chicago White Sox and for also managing the next Venezuelan Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel. — Franklin M. (Punto Fijo Edo, VE)

A: Well, my goal has always been giving Venezuela a good name, and Omar should definitely go into the Hall of Fame.

Q: Hi Ozzie, a non-baseball question, but a Chicago question. Did you ever have a chance to meet Coach Ray Meyer before he passed away? He was a good friend of mine and a wonderful person, and I know he was also a White Sox fan. Just wondering. Take care and best of luck to you! — Daniel T. (LA)

A: No, I never got a chance to meet him but now I wish I would have.

Thanks for all your questions all season long. Definitely keeps me entertained!

A fight to the end

Well what can you really say? Getting swept always stinks and it stinks even more when you’re in September fighting for a division. This is baseball; those losses hurt but there is always another game to be played. No matter what happens you have to go back out there the next day and perform.

As you can see with our team this year, every game you play during the season is important, whether it’s April or September. If you don’t believe that, then look at how many games we gave away in April and tell me those don’t count now. We wish we could have some of those games back, but we can’t. Every game matters.

It was nice to see us bounce back against the Twins after what happened in Detroit.  The guys are still fighting and playing hard. We are going to fight to the end of this thing. Wins are wins and they all count so we will try to win every game here down the stretch.

Q&A before heading to Detroit

I always have time to answer your questions. Trying to enjoy this off day before we head on over to Detroit. I want to thank everyone for their respect and support. I hope you enjoy asking the questions as much as I do answering them. Here you go:

Q: Ozzie if you really see this, Hi from Maggie 🙂 — Maggie P. (Chicago)

A: Hi Maggie, thanks for checking out my site.

Q: A warm greeting Ozzie from Guyana, as a Latin player what was the toughest part of playing in the United States? – Siul P. (Puerto Ordaz, VE)

A: The hardest part for me was learning English and getting accustomed to the culture in the United States.

Q: Hey Ozzie! Not a question, just wanted to say I saw your interview with your comments about Sean Penn and your other thoughts and I wanted to tell you that YOU are a real American and I appreciate your viewpoint! Keep it up, Bro! — Chris S. (Murrieta, CA)

A: Well thank you for calling me a real American. I appreciate that and I spend more time here than I do back home.

Q: Hi Ozzie. I wrote you a couple of weeks ago asking for a series win against the Twins and on cue you provided the sweep! Anyway, when you played what was your most memorable season? — Brandon H. (St. Paul, MN)

A: Thank you. When I played I think that going to a World Series was always a goal and dream of mine. But I had a lot of memorable seasons.

Q: Will you be managing the Sox in 2012? — Terry F. (Chicago)

A: I hope so.

Q: Ozzie: First off, thank you for continuing to be the Chicago White Sox manager. My first question: What can be done to change our won loss record being worse at home? I feel this is the make or brake part of making the playoffs. Second: Do you think some players were pushing themselves to hard to improve in their hitting? I am just surprised at all the inconsistency this year by the team. Good Luck with the rest of the season! — Larry W. (Wheeling, IL)

A: Well I hope we continue to play better at home but I’m not sure exactly why it has gone the way it has. We did just win two of three from the Twins and that’s kind of rare so we will see what happens. Guys work hard everyday to get better and so do the coaches, no one is ever satisfied.

Q: Hi Ozzie. Because of you, my wife LOVES the Sox. We recently bought one of your game worn and signed jerseys from the Sox.  You’re the best. Thanks for everything and being you. Jennifer and Matt S. — Matt S. (Chicago)

A: Thanks man I hope she liked the jersey!

Q: Hello Ozzie. My question is: We usually have the best seat in the house when we question balls and strikes on TV. How is your view from the dugout (can you tell if it’s a good pitch?)? Also, can you watch replays and see if umps are squeezing our pitchers? — David B. (Bridgeport)

A: Usually my angle is not the best but I have been in the game so long that I know if it’s a good pitch or close to a strike. No I don’t check the monitors but usually I send someone to check and see how close it was.

Q: Ozzie – with the Cubs general manager position open, there has been some talk (largely ESPN, the Chicago Tribune, and the Sun-Times) suggesting the possibility the Sox could promote Hahn to GM in order to prevent losing him. How do you think Rick Hahn would perform as a GM? — Eric B. (Moweaque, IL)

A: I think Rick Hahn is a great baseball man. Very smart and well respected. I think he will do a great job wherever he decides to go, he does a great job for the Sox.