I have always said it’s better to be lucky than good (hahaha). Wow, that game Wednesday night in Anahiem was a lot of fun, and those are the types of games you need to win to pick up some momentum. It was the perfect game to win before enjoying an off-day in San Francisco! For those of you who may not have stayed up in Chicago to watch the whole game, we did leave a bunch of runners on base early, but we kept plugging away. Alex Rios has been red-hot as of late and “Q” (Carlos Quentin) has been swinging the bat great. And, man, it seems like I talk about this guy in every blog I write, but Omar Vizquel did a hell of a job for us again.
Now, we also swung the bats real well the first game in Anaheim, especially the guys at the bottom of the order. I really think baseball is more of a mental game than it is a physical one because confidence can be a scary thing in this game. Actually, not having confidence might actually be even scarier. I mean, look at the Cleveland Indians right now. They think they can beat anyone right now, and believe me that’s a very good feeling to have.
And, finally, Jake Peavy made his return to the mound. He looked better than I expected him to look, and as long as he doesn’t feel any discomfort, I think he will be just fine. We can only hope.
We are here in San Francisco enjoying our last off-day in like three weeks or something like that. Well, some of the guys were in San Fran. I spent the off-day up in Napa Valley with my wife enjoying wine country (haha). The West coast trip has been a positive one so far, but we have to close it out. I know the A’s are a good team and their pitching staff is tough, but we will see what happens; this is baseball. We can’t change anything; we need to stay positive and continue to play hard! — Ozzie
Feels good to win a series, doesn’t it? It’s always a good feeling to go out and play your game and win. Overall, I think we started to play a little better baseball over the weekend in Seattle. We started to swing the bats a little bit, and that is great to see.
I think Seattle is just an awesome city. I’m a big fan of the stadium, and I absolutely love the seafood that city has. On the field, we got King Felix for a couple of runs on Friday, which was exciting, even though it wasn’t enough to get the win. What I like most about the way we have been playing is the pitching. It has been very good, and combine that with timely hitting, and you are going to win some games. Timely hitting is the key. It’s something we haven’t done a whole lot of lately, but the guys never gave up, and it was nice to win a close game yesterday for a change.
Now it’s on to Anaheim. Am I dreaming, or do we miss both Dan Haren and Jered Weaver? I’m not completely sure that’s the case, but either way, we have to continue to battle and play well. The Angels are always prepared, and those little guys they have, like Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis, always kill the White Sox, so we need to control those guys.
Last time we saw Bobby Abreu, my wife cooked for him, and then they came out and kicked our butts. I promise you my wife won’t be cooking anything for him this time around. So, no meals for Abreu, but hopefully we can go out there in awesome Southern California and try to win this series!
Hey, everyone. … I had a chance to check out some of the questions you guys have submitted through the website and some of the comments you guys are making, and I can’t help but feel like some of you should be managing some kind of team or something. Some of you seem very smart and almost all of you seem to have the answer to why we aren’t playing the best baseball right now (haha). I like staying in touch with the fans; that’s why I like reading and answering your questions, writing this blog and letting everyone know what’s going on. One thing I can tell you for sure is that we don’t win or lose games because I write this blog. Every day, we go to the ballpark and battle; just right now things aren’t going our way. Nobody likes to lose — it’s not fun. But we need to stay positive and leave the past in the past and look to tomorrow.
Now, on to your questions …
Q: Ozzie, I have met you many times at the legendary Townsend in Detroit. You are absolutely one of the finest people I have met. Who influenced you to be such a great person whenever you run into idiots like me? You’re the best! Good health, my friend! — Buzz K. (Boston)
A: Well, I meet crazy fans all the time! Fans have the right to express their frustration, but I have learned how to handle it over the years. Imagine people coming to your job every day and telling you how terrible you are. It’s not always easy, but I have been in this game almost 30 years and have an idea how to tune it out.
Q: Ozzie, you are the best manager in the league. Is there any chance we would ever see you become manager of the Cubs? They desperately need a manager like you on the North Side. You are the best, and the Cubs need the best managing them. — Mark B. (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)
A: At this point, I would be surprised if anyone wants me (haha) — just kidding. The Cubs already have a good manager in Mike Quade. I’m just trying to keep our guys hungry and give them some energy.
Q: I just wanted to say thanks for being such a great coach. Don’t ever change. Keep telling ’em how you feel. Go Sox. — Max V. (Aurora, Ill.)
A: That’s what I plan on doing, thank you!
Q: Why do you think more managers don’t speak their mind the way you do? Don’t you think baseball people should be more honest? — Toby L. (Burlington, Vt.)
A: I think everyone is different, and some people might be scared to lose their job; I don’t know. I say what I feel. Always have and always will.
Q: Ozzie, greetings from Brazil. Got a weird question — when will we have the first Brazilian ballplayer? Big hug. — Marco S. (Rio de Janeiro)
A: Well, yeah, I would like that, but Brazilians are busy playing football. But when the next Pele of baseball comes out of Brazil, send him to Chicago.
Q: First, I wish you all the success in the upcoming season. I’m a young coach just learning how to lead. How do you cope with all the criticism from fans and players’ egos? Fans seem to follow your every move in search of mistakes. — Carlos M. (Venezuela)
A: People — and when I say people, I mean critics and fans — are always going to second-guess what you do. The further you sit from home plate, the more you think you know about the game. Just stay focused and honest with yourself.
Q: Ozzie, if one of the players is playing while not feeling right, or playing hurt, and they don’t tell you or one of your coaches about it, how do you deal with that player withholding info that could be a detriment to themselves and the team? How do you trust what they tell you in the future? — Dawn B. (Chicago)
A: Well, that’s hard because I always tell the guys if you are hurt, you’re not helping me or the team. Don’t be a tough guy, because in the end injuries will catch up with you and hurt us even more than they would have in the first place.
Today is a travel day for us, as we head out west for a long, tough road trip. We will get to Seattle tonight and be ready to go tomorrow!
Wow, I might have a couple grey hairs growing already (haha). Listen, I think it’s important to say that everyone goes through slumps. I’m not saying I’m entirely happy with our performance on the last road trip. All I will say is that I hope we snap out of it. And I hope we snap out of it in time to do something! I also am noticing that some other teams that were predicted to do well are struggling, too. It goes to show you that baseball is probably the hardest sport to predict who is going to win. It’s not like other sports where you get a couple good players and your team is great. In our sport, you need to compete every day for a chance to win. That’s why I love this game so much. You need to grind.
As I said, the road trip wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be. But I do like New York a lot. I have a ton of friends there, and the weather we got was awesome. I had a chance to have dinner with my very good friends, Ruben Blades and Bobby Allende. The dinner was great because not once did anyone bring up baseball. This game is such a marathon, it’s good to get out for a night and forget about it. As I am sure you have all heard by now, I did get kicked out of one of those games in the first inning, and I’ll be watching the next few games from home. Lesson learned, and I’ll be rooting for my guys like everyone else. CC Sabathia was very tough on us last night, and we were out of it very fast. First two games of the series were very nice, and Brent Lillibridge made these two great catches to win us a game. We had some timely hitting and good pitching, and it wasn’t all great, but we were able to get the wins.
Now the Orioles come into town, and they are no longer surprising anyone. Everyone knows they have good players. My hope is that our fans stick behind us, even though we know we aren’t playing as well as we want to. There are still a lot of games left, and hopefully this weekend we start the homestand in the right direction. Or else … more grey hairs.
Well, this week has been a long week. We had a long losing streak that finally ended in Tampa on Thursday, and then last night we had to face one of the nastiest pitchers in the league in Justin Verlander. We have run into some very good pitching in the last week, and sometimes that’s the way it goes. Plus, the defense we saw in Tampa was very, very good. It seems like they constantly were taking away base hits from us. But our guys continued to battle and gave us a chance to win.
I have always said it’s not how you start, but rather how you finish. We beat Tampa earlier in the season three out of four in Chicago, and they came back and did the same thing to us. That’s baseball … it’s going to happen. I believe in our guys; most of them have been through this before. They just need to keep grinding and good things will happen.
What people are starting to see is that in the American League there are no easy games. Just look at what Baltimore, Kansas City and Cleveland are doing. Those teams have surprised just about everyone and have fought to win every game. It’s still early in the season, but wow, in the AL you really can’t afford to take a night off.
As for us, we will continue to battle here in Detroit this weekend and then in New York. I want to thank Omar Vizquel because it seems like every time I put him in the lineup, he makes me look like a genius. … I have no idea how he does it, but he’s still got it somehow!
Well … what can you say? We are playing good baseball so far, but it can definitely get better. Unfortunately, we had a couple of rough games here on the homestand that we were unable to close out. I know we are capable and have the guys who can get the job done; now we just need to do it. Meanwhile, with that being said, I still have the confidence in our guys down in the bullpen to finish the games off. They have done it before, and for whatever reason, have just had some difficulties the past two weeks. So we will see what happens from now on …
But lets not forget we are 7-5, and a lot of good things came out of this last series and the homestand so far. I told you Oakland had a very good pitching staff and they showed us that. But our offense still got some runs and produced enough to win games and that’s very exciting. Our starting pitching has been good; we had a couple of guys (Mark Buehrle and John Danks) that gave us eight great innings a piece and did a great job. With that in mind, I also have to protect my guys; that’s my job. We are very early in the season and there is no reason to risk anyone this early. We are going to need everyone healthy to reach out potential.
After our off-day today, the Angels come to town. We always have to be on our toes because when Mike Scioscia brings his team in, they always like to put guys in motion and use a lot of hit-and-runs. I see that we get Jered Weaver on Friday and Dan Haren at the end, so we have our work cut out for us. But I will stick with my guys through thick and thin. We are a team. We win as a team and lose as a team.
I am going to enjoy my day off here in Miami. I’m down here visiting my son, Ozney, who I haven’t had a chance to see in forever because he is in the middle of his baseball season and I miss him. It gives me an opportunity to kind of take my mind off of things and tomorrow we will be ready to get after the Angels. I know my guys will be ready to play, and I hope you guys are ready to cheer!
For some reason, I am a very happy guy right now. … Do you know why?? (hahaha)
Wow, I’m very pleased with the way we have been going about our business. In baseball, sometimes you win games and sometimes you lose games, but right now we are pitching better and swinging the bats very well.Brent Morel and Mark Teahen have been awesome. I love the way those two guys are hitting the ball the other way; when you hit the ball the other way you have success in this game.And it’s not just those two guys, we have a bunch of guys getting the job done at the plate. We put Brent in the other day, and he was ready to go and played a great game.It’s always great to see the younger guys have some early success.
One of the things that I have seen early on in this season is that we are giving ourselves a chance to win every day. If we continue to do that, we are going to be just fine.What can you say about Phil Humber? Wow, he was just outstanding giving us six solid innings; good for him and us. I was very excited to see him step up and give us a great outing.We did just take three of four from Tampa this weekend, but I think they will end up playing better. Their pitching is just too good for them to lose a lot of games, and once Evan Longoria gets back, that lineup changes quite a bit. Maybe it’s good for us that we see them again in April and then can be done with that team for the season.
On a different subject, I was very sad to see what happened to Manny Ramirez, but you can’t find me saying anything bad about him. He was a class act when he was with us last year, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best moving forward.
Oakland is in town starting today, and this isn’t the Oakland of two years ago — these guys can play. They have a good ballclub with some very good pitching, so they are not the underdogs anymore. I expect this series to be a dogfight with them because they have slowly gotten better each year, and just like a long time ago when they had The Big Three, they can pitch with anyone. I expect our guys to be up to the challenge.
The energy in The Cell has been great, so keep coming out and supporting the guys. Get a ticket and come on out and, we will see you at the park.
Going back home to Chicago … YESSS! Wanted to get my thoughts out before we got on the plane to head home. Wow, what a crazy couple of games here in Kansas City. Every time we come here it feels like nothing is easy. The Royals make you have to battle for everything, and I’m glad my guys answered the bell. So far, you can see these guys are all grinders and they won’t go without a fight. I love having that feeling about my team.
I love the way the team is running the bases very hard and aggressive. Sure, we made a couple of mistakes, but they were aggressive mistakes, and if we are going to make mistakes, those are the ones I want to see. We do have to catch the ball a little better and throw some more strikes, but we won the game. We won the series in Cleveland and now split here in K.C. I will take that on the road. I told you guys in my last blog that K.C. was going to be very tough this year, and they proved that already.
Now we are heading back to Chicago and I hope The Cell is crazy tomorrow! Tampa has been struggling a little bit, but they are still a very good team that is going to throw 4 very good pitchers at us. Edwin Jackson will be ready to go for us, I can promise you that.
Tomorrow is going to be my 21st Opening Day with the Sox. Yes, there have been that many! When the game starts, it’s nothing but fun, but I love the National Anthem because it gets so loud and I will just be taking it all in trying to enjoy it.
Hope you are all ready, Chicago, because here we come!!