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!!
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!!!
Hey, everyone! Sorry for not posting in a little bit, but I have been all over the place. But now it’s time to talk to you guys and let you know what I have been up to. Last week, I was at the Winter Meetings for a day. I am glad we made the moves that we made, even though I was probably just as surprised as you guys when I heard them. People in Chicago should feel very proud and lucky they have an owner like Jerry Reinsdorf, and also proud of the people in the front office for making such aggressive moves. I’m very happy we have my captain, PK (Paul Konerko), back, and I’m happy he will hopefully finish his career with the White Sox. As far as Adam Dunn goes — wow … he’s a big boy and seems like a very fun guy who stays loose and ready to play. I like that.
Right now, I am in Venezuela and will be here for a few weeks. Other than doing some relaxing, I am doing some work through the Ozzie Guillen Foundation, helping out kids with cancer and other problems they face here in my home country. I will post some pictures soon on here as well as on my Facebook page so you guys can get a feel for what exactly we are doing.
I was reading through some of your questions and one came up about “Ozzie Ball” and what it is exactly. I think most times, people don’t know what it means, so let me explain: “Ozzie Ball” means playing the game the right way; it has nothing to do with bunting, stealing bases or the lack of home runs. It’s about playing hard-nosed baseball the way I liked to play it, or better yet the way Paul Molitor, Lenny Dykstra, Rickey Henderson and George Brett played the game. I want 25 guys playing the game that way every single day.
Now, on to more of your questions:
Q: Are you currently in your dream job?
A: Yes, I am in my dream job. I have been with the White Sox for 22 years of my life, and I have lived in Chicago longer than anywhere else in my life. Chicago is my home. With that said, my home is where my family and I are at that current time, and right now, that’s Chicago. I hope it stays that way, but it’s out of my control.
Q: Do you have a favorite place in Chicago to get a hot dog?
A: I don’t really eat a lot of hot dogs, but when I do I like Maxwell Street by UIC. They have a lot of good food, especially the pork chops.
Q: Ozzie, I’ve always wondered, what’s it like to make your money playing baseball?
A: I was always blessed to stay healthy for a long time like I did to play the game that I love. It truly was a blessing. I hope everyone loves their job as much as I do, because when you do you really give it your best. Many of us who had the privilege to play baseball for a living recognize how blessed we are. That’s why I try to do as much for the community as I can. I want everyone to be as healthy and blessed as we have been.
Q: Since the Dodgers have Juan Uribe and he played for the White Sox, what can you tell us about him?
A: Uribe is awesome. He may look like a little Buddha, but he is an amazing baseball player. I think he is so good because he is not afraid of the moment. He really is fearless, maybe because he has no idea how big the moments actually are! (haha) I only kid with him because that’s my boy, and he will be great for the Dodgers.
As I always say, keep the questions coming!
Until next time …
First off, I would like to thank everyone who took a few minutes of their time to send me their questions, opinions, congratulations and criticisms through this page. I am sure that this exchange between you and me will be very productive. In this second column I will respond to a couple of questions that were sent my way. I will also respond to a couple of comments that were made about the team, which, truthfully, is going through a tough time.
I am still optimistic, as are my players, and I think that at any moment now we will combine good pitching, with timely hitting and solid defense, to get back on track. Up until now that hasn’t happened with the consistency we would like. Miguel Monges asks if it is possible to be able to finish in first place even though we have started the season with so many injuries. It’s true Miguel, that when we put a team together in Spring Training, the last thing we think of is losing so many key pieces due to injury. In 2004, my first year as manager, we lost our third and fourth spot hitters because of injuries in the middle of season and that ended any dreams we had of the postseason. It wasn’t impossible, but it was really hard to score runs without Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas in the lineup. That’s why I always say one of the most important things is to stay healthy, especially because of the 162-game schedule we play.
Luis Angel Rodriguez asks that I keep a consistent lineup “as much as possible!” You are right Angel, that is the best scenario, but it’s not always possible because of injuries and the rest that some players that play almost every day need to get. When you have the goal of winning the World Series, you know that that effort will require an additional 11 wins in October, and it’s impossible to reach that goal without your key players in good condition and that means giving them a break from time to time. Additionally, losing your leadoff hitter because of injury during the first week of the season has forced us to experiment with different things in order to get each player in a spot where they will be productive. It hasn’t been easy, but I am confident that we will have a set lineup soon.
Fernando Bosch, Rafael Castro and Sergio Villareal are just some of you that have asked about Jose Contreras. Honestly, I have to tip my cap to him for his professionalism. If before I respected him as a player because of his work ethic and enthusiasm, now I admire and respect him even more after the way he has handled the start of the season. Nobody thought that he would be ready before July or August, but he arrived in Arizona in great shape. Perhaps his rehab wasn’t complete and we rushed in getting him back in the starting rotation. It was his own idea to go down to the minors to work on his mechanics and that is admirable and worth my respect. Anyone else might have stayed at home enjoying his guaranteed money. Contreras went to Charlotte to work because he wants to come back and help his team. I am sure that will happen, too.
Cristóbal Silva reminds me that we need a consistent leadoff hitter that doesn’t get hurt. It’s true Cristobal, and if you know where to find one, let me know and we’ll pick him up tomorrow!
Juan Moreno asks how I am going to get the White Sox to play my style if we have a team of sluggers. This season we added some speed to the lineup with players like Dewayne Wise and Chris Getz to add to Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin in order to let make us more aggressive on the base paths. Also, Josh Fields will add youth and power. Up until now, the injuries and low production hasn’t let us be more aggressive, but I am confident that we will be able to add the youth to the power and experience of players like Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and score some runs.
Smery Cortez and Carmelo Salazar have asked if Freddy Garcia is in our plans. A healthy Freddy Garcia, without a doubt, can help us a lot; I know better than most of his talent and what his is capable of doing in big games. Unfortunately, Freddy hasn’t been able to get the effectiveness back in his pitches because of injuries to his shoulder. I know that he is working hard and, personally, I hope he can soon get back to form because we are also great friends. The ultimate decision of his signing, though, would be the responsibility of our GM, Kenny Williams.
I’d also like to respond to Martin Quintero, who says ‘he has heard’ that my son was signed by the White Sox without being a good player, because I forced the team to do it, and that because of that we didn’t sign better players.
Martin, if you believe everything you hear you will end up going crazy. First off, I can say, that despite my excellent relationship with Jerry Reinsdorf, I don’t have the power to impose my wishes on this organization. My job has nothing to do with signing players.
Oney Robert, the son you are referring to, was signed in the 36th round of the 2007 draft because there were people in this organization that thought he had enough talent to be a professional baseball player, and I assure you that he didn’t take anyone else’s spot. As a father, I supported him just like any father would. It wasn’t going to be me that squashed his aspirations of being a Major League Baseball player, especially for a person who has been surrounded his whole life by baseball and the Majors. He was born in January of 1986, a few weeks after I was awarded the 1985 American League Rookie of the Year Award. He decided this year to let go of his dreams of being a Major Leaguer, but his talents now are being put to work in an office job. I think his two years as a professional baseball player was a good experience and that it will help him grow as a person.
I would love to have unlimited time and space to keep answering questions, but there are way too many of them. A couple questions that don’t have anything directly to do with me will be addressed by someone in the White Sox organization. Paul LaReau asks if there are White Sox signs and photos available for him to decorate his high school classroom in Indiana, Mavel Zubia wants to know about White Sox training clinics, Francisco Eduardo Arvayo inquired about if we are planning on playing in Hermosillo, Mexico again.
Several of you also sent congratulations and good wishes which I have taken to heart. Keep writing, because I do my best to respond to all the questions. And again, thanks for your support.