Results tagged ‘ Joey Cora ’

Spring is just around the corner

How did January go by so fast? Well, February is here and I can’t believe it. And no, I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day, just in case you were wondering. February is always an exciting month because baseball is finally getting started. I can’t really remember an offseason that has been as much fun as this one, not only with the moves the Marlins have made but with the moves everyone has made. There are a lot of good teams out there and teams looking to bounce back from last year. April 4 can’t come soon enough.

I will be heading down to Miami on Feb. 13 for the Marlins charity golf tournament. I know Joey Cora has been practicing a lot so I need to get out there a few days early so I don’t embarrass myself. A couple days before that, on Friday, Feb. 10, I will be doing “Lunch With a Legend” here in Chicago on ESPN 1000 with Waddle & Silvy. I love working with those guys because they know a lot about baseball and sports in general. They treat everyone with respect and I like that. I hope to see everyone out for the event.

I finally made it to my first Bulls game of the year last week. It’s always great to see my old buddy, the guy who got me my first car in Chicago back in 1985, Steve Shanwald. I think it was a Toyota Supra (haha). The Bulls played a great game and Derrick Rose was awesome! I did see that they lost to the Heat, even though it was a great game. It would be very nice if the Bulls and the Heat face off in the Eastern Conference Finals so I can catch some games in Miami.

Back to baseball. Like I always say, every team looks good in January and everyone is optimistic and excited about their team’s chances. Usually this time of year everyone is saying the right things, but you have to go out and play the games. Everyone loves each other in February, but the key is to love each other in September. If you can do that then you are in business. Trust me, I know first hand.

It’s almost time for baseball!

I’m back! Yes, it’s good to be back in Chicago. I love my house here in the Bucktown area, and even though it’s cold, at least it isn’t as cold as it was a week ago, from what I have heard. I will be hanging around Chicago for a couple more weeks before I head down to Florida for Spring Training. Tonight I am going to head over to the United Center for the Bulls game, my first one of the year. I think they play the Bucks, who just beat Miami, so it should be a good game. On Saturday I might head over to the UFC event. I have never been to one of those so it might be a cool experience.

Now, on to some baseball stuff. Wow! Congratulations to Prince Fielder and his family. He deserves it and the Tigers definitely got better. I know Miguel Cabrera is happy. It seems like all the big-name hitters are going to the American League, thank God (haha)!

I have some things planned here in Chicago before I head out that I’m sure you are going to be interested in. We literally just set this up a few minutes before I wrote this, but on Feb. 10 I will be on ESPN 1000 “Lunch with a Legend” on the “Waddle & Silvy Show.” I’m very excited about it and it will be a good way to say goodbye to Chicago before the season starts. Hope to see as many of you out for the event as possible.

I think I am leaving town right after Valentine’s Day and I’m pumped up about it. I never thought I would say this, but I’m looking forward to seeing Joey Cora again, a lot (haha). That means only one thing: baseball is here!

Man, what a crazy week so far …

OzzieGreen.jpg

Just got back from Tucson this morning after what was an
emotional day yesterday
. I was
very moved and touched by the ceremony we had down there and the game yesterday
for the Green family, to remember Christina Taylor-Green. Everyone knows how much I care about my
family, and to see this kind of tragedy happen to such good people hit me very
hard. It was great to be a part of
the game, and I am so happy I got to meet Christina’s father. To see how he is handling this is
amazing; it shows how strong him and his family are. I wish them nothing but
the best. 

On a better note, I stayed two nights in Tucson with my wife
and it reminded me how much I missed it. It was great seeing people I knew from the past and, yes, I did eat at
Mariscos Chihuahua because the food is just amazing! Does anyone know if there is one around Phoenix? As for the game, it was fun to see the
turnout and all the support from the fans, but the wind was crazy! I heard it wasn’t just in Tucson, but
also in Glendale. Man, I wish I was playing, cuz maybe I would have had a
chance to go deep (haha). When
Omar Vizquel hits a ball off the wall batting left-handed, you know something
isn’t right (hahaha).

When I got back this morning to Glendale, it was great to see
“The Greatest
,” Muhammad Ali, in the clubhouse. I’ve met him before — I think it was in ’96 — but whenever you
get to be around a legend like that, you just want to take it all in and not
ruin it by talking. Just being
around him is an honor. I wish I
would have met Ali back when he really was Ali. Maybe he could have given me
some pointers because we both talk A LOT (hahaha). I respect people that say what’s on their mind like I do,
even if you offend people or say something they don’t want to hear. He did that all the time, and I will
always respect that.

I’m looking forward to going to Scottsdale tomorrow to play
the Giants because Ehire Adrianza plays for them and he is on their 40-man
roster. He is like one of my kids, and I will be very happy seeing him play. His dad and I are best friends and grew up together, so I will always be
rooting for him.

Other than that, I will keep you guys posted on what’s
happening here in a few days. And
oh yeah, I almost forgot, GO BULLS. Yes, we watch the games and Joey (Cora) is a Heat fan, so we are on him
every day. But he did not cry (hahaha). Thank God! Keep your questions coming through the website. I will post
some more answers later this week, but I like reading them all.  

Talk you soon, and go get those dreams!

Ozzie

* Photo above: Dallas Green, brother to Christina-Taylor Green, and father John Green (right) are greeted by manager Ozzie Guillen before a Spring Training game between the White Sox and Diamondbacks at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday. (Getty Images)

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 

I’m SO ready for Spring Training to start!

What’s going on, everyone?? I hope you all are enjoying this crazy weather here in Chicago. This is the first time I have been in Chicago for this long. Usually I leave and run away to Miami, but not this year! My family and I decided it would be best to stay here and enjoy all the snow, but I know you don’t feel too bad for me — I will be in Arizona in a couple of weeks.

I am definitely ready for Spring Training to start so I can see my boys again and catch up with my staff. I already have my house picked out down there. We needed something big enough to fit all the guests I have coming down. If you didn’t know, Joey Cora has been my roommate for almost six years now down in Arizona. It’s pretty interesting, to say the least, and I am sure I will fill you guys in on what I mean once we get down there.

The best part of the beginning of the spring is the energy and excitement everyone comes in with. Also, because we get out so early before the games start, I get to work on my golf game almost every day. So many great courses out there make it a lot of fun. The beginning of Spring Training also has its bad moments, like every single day when I have to talk to the media about the same things. Most of the time, I can’t wait till the games start and we can see what everyone is about.

Before I forget, I want to congratulate the Bears on having a great season, and Lovie Smith for doing a great job. In my opinion, this guy needs to be given more credit; nobody expected them to do anything this year, and look what he got out of his players. On the same note, I have watched a ton of basketball this year and the Bulls look amazing. This kid Derrick Rose is awesome; so explosive. I’m glad Chicago has its next superstar. And I can’t forget about my boy Joakim Noah. I will be watching and rooting the rest of the way.

I have also been watching some golf getting ready for Arizona. I really hope Tiger Woods can get his game back. It is also great to see Jhonattan Vegas playing so well. He is from Venezuela, and I am very proud of him and hope all of Venezuela is as well for competing with the best. Maybe one day he can teach me some things — learning how to slice would be great. (haha)

I also got a chance to watch the Facebook movie, “The Social Network,” the other day. It was very hard for me to understand what they were saying some of the time, but after getting some of it explained to me all I can is… that kid is a genius! Good for him!

Alright, guys, I will be answering some more of your questions later this week. Keep checking the website out for more updates and stay tuned, because Arizona is almost here and I’m ready for this thing to start!!

As always, wake up and go get those dreams and make them reality!

– Ozzie

Sparky, the World Series and the offseason

CHICAGO — What’s up, everyone?I finally made my way back to Chicago and
thought I’d share some things with you all. Man do I love this city,
even though I’m freezing my butt off!

Unfortunately, yesterday the baseball community lost a true legend. Sparky Anderson
was a great man and will truly be missed. I was lucky enough to watch
Sparky manage my favorite teams and player of all-time. Growing up in
Venezuela, the only games I was able to watch were those of the
Cincinnati Reds teams of the ’70s (especially the ’75 and ’76 teams) and
my favorite player, Dave Concepcion. I was also fortunate enough
to play against him when he was in Detroit and would be blessed one day
to have as many rings as he does. A lot of people have been asking me
if I have any Sparky stories, so here’s something I remember — even
though it might be hard for some of you to believe it. Sparky Anderson
intentionally walked me twice in my career to pitch to Sammy Sosa.
Yes, the same Sammy Sosa who hit over 600 home runs — although back
then he still had his Jheri curl and was a little darker (hahaha). Sparky was a great baseball man and will be missed.

I want to congratulate the San Francisco Giants, especially Aaron Rowand, Juan Uribe and Bruce Bochy.
My experience at FOX was awesome, and I can’t thank everyone enough.
But seeing those guys celebrate is what makes me excited to come to
work. I hope I can do it again some time soon. I love this game so much,
I want to be around it whenever I can. Both the front offices of the
Giants and Rangers need to be applauded. I got to the World Series in
’99 with the Braves and know what it feels like to lose. It takes a lot
to get there, and those guys should be proud. I watched a little of the
parade in San Francisco and it was great. those guys won because they’re
carefree spirits. They play the baseball I like to play.

Now that I’m back in Chicago, I plan on seeing a couple of Bulls games like I did last night. (Thanks to all the fans who came up and said hi.) I live close  to the United Center and enjoy supporting the young kids they have, like Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. Plus, I have always been a fan of basketball.

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I
also want to go see a Bears game, but I’m not sure it will be here in
Chicago. Us Latinos will freeze out there in this weather. I am planning
on heading down to Miami to see them play the Dolphins. It will be a
lot warmer, but don’t worry, I will be rooting for the Bears. When I’m
in Miami, I enjoy golfing a lot and watching my youngest son, Ozney,
play at his Junior College. I think I’m going to crash at his place and
make him cook for me or something (hahaha). I have a lot of good friends who live in Miami in the offseason. I play golf with Joey Cora a lot and get to see Freddy Garcia
and his kids, who are a part of my family. Even though we try to relax,
we always end up talking about baseball. we Guillens live baseball
24/7, and I even named my dog “DH” after my good friend Harold Baines.   

I hope you all got a chance to check out the Jimmy Kimmel
joke about me. If not, you can look at my previous post. It’s very funny
stuff. I read all your questions and comments, and I love it, so please
ask me anything. Don’t be scared (haha). Maybe you guys can
teach me something. It never hurts to listen to advice. Now it’s time to
go relax this offseason with a little music, the beach, and of course
baseball because the chaos never stops!

Talk to you guys soon, very soon.

Ozzie  

Q&A: The DH, Omar, Big Red Machine, Venezuela

ARLINGTON — I promised to answer as many questions as possible. We’ve got some good ones on here already. Keep them coming!!

Q: Do you think Omar Vizquel has a chance to be a good manager for a baseball club?
A: Omar, I think, will be good at anything he does because he is a professional and very respectful. He knows the game, and if he wanted to be a manager, I would support him. 
Q: What is it like going from player to manager? 
A: Being a player was easier for me because I would only worry about myself all the time and do the best I could. When you’re a manager, you have to deal, every day, with 30 players and a whole staff. That’s what makes my hair gray (haha). 
Q: Who was your favorite teammate? 
A: I had a lot of great teammates, but my two favorite were Harold Baines and Joey Cora
Q: As an American visiting Venezuela, what are the coolest things to do/see? 
A: You have to visit Los Roques, Canaima, the Tepuis, Pico Bolivar and Merida. Catch a winter-ball game — Caracas vs. Magallanes is very good. 
Q: If you were commissioner of baseball, what are some of the things you’d change? 
A: I would make both leagues use the DH one year and no DH the next year so there is no more complaining about it. 
Q: As a manager, what is your favorite “road trip” city and why? 
A: My favorite cities are Seattle because of the food and San Francisco because it reminds me a little of Caracas, where I grew up. 
Q: If you could start your career in baseball all over again, what would you do differently? 
I wouldn’t change anything because I think things have gone very well, and if I’ve made some mistakes, those things happen for a reason. 
Q: In comparison to when you first started playing in the big leagues, do you believe racism is still a factor with new Latin ballplayers? 
A: First and foremost, there’s always going to be racism, not just in baseball but in the entire world. But now it is much easier, and the conditions are better in the Minor and Major Leagues. When I started, there were very few of us Latin ballplayers. But now, there are many Latins in the game. But I also speak English now — not very well, but I speak it. 
Q: What’s up with the fact that the only [critical member] of The Big Red Machine (I understand why Pete Rose isn’t in) who hasn’t been enshrined in the Hall of Fame is David Concepcion? 
David has been my favorite ballplayer since I was growing up, which is why I wear No. 13 in his honor. I believe the reason he hasn’t gotten in is because the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame think David wasn’t any better than many other ballplayers. But that’s solely their opinion. 
Q: Did you want “El Toro” [Carlos] Zambrano on your team?
A: “El Toro” is my friend and a very good pitcher. Like everybody, though, he just made a mistake. But they gave him another chance, and I think it’s going to go well for him in Chicago — just not with the White Sox. I wish him the best. 
Q: Would you consider being a civil rights spokesman after your career in baseball? 
I love politics, and I read a lot about it. Like you all know, I have opinions about everything, but at the same time, I stay on baseball and on television. Me, politics? I doubt it. But you never know (haha). 
Ozzie 

As long as there is hope, we will continue to battle

I have never bothered God or my saints to ask them for anything related to baseball because as I’ve said on many occasions, none of them have played the sport. I ask them for good health for myself and for my family, wisdom to make the best decisions, wellbeing for my friends and the best for humanity. That is enough to keep me happy. Nonetheless, there is an exception to every rule and so before this last road trip that took us to the West coast, I asked God to keep the White Sox away from all the negative things that happened to us on our last road trip to Boston, New York and Minnesota. It was more of a plea than a request. Please God, don’t let us have a terrible road trip like the last one, which practically took us out of contention and put us against the wall when it came to our goal of claiming the title in the American League Central Division, which we won with much effort last year.

We obviously dug ourselves into the deep hole that we are currently in. The inconsistency that we have talked about all season has manifested itself during these last few months. After suddenly taking three out of four games against Boston and winning series against the Yankees, Tampa and the Angels, right away we lost to Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland and Kansas City. Without taking credit away from the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball, any team that aspires to win a championship has to battle against teams with winning records and crush those under .500 and out of contention. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do that and the result is our current position in the standings.

It is true that as I write this column, we are still alive mathematically, which some faithful fans pointed out in their messages. They calculated how many wins we need combined with Tigers losses in order to surpass or tie the division leaders before the last game of the regular season. The optimism of some fans is truly incredible and contagious with all of their analysis and encouraging messages. I cannot thank them enough for all the affection and positive energy that they send in each one of their e-mails. But in reality, our mission is simply to win, win and win. There’s no alternative. We must go out on the field every day with the goal of winning in mind, without paying attention to the results of other teams. If we get to the series against Detroit with a difference of only a few games, then we can dream of a miracle. If not, lets pack our things and “head out, it’s getting late,” as Joey Cora would say.

In any case, I want to reiterate that I hold myself responsible for all the blame if we don’t get to where we want to be. Although I don’t pitch, bat or run the bases, when I took this job I made a commitment to get the team to play well and we haven’t done that. I understand that the expectations of the fans, the front office, the coaches and the players are many, especially because we are convinced that we have the talent and the material to win many games. But as I’ve always said, in the end what matters is the work that takes place on the field. We’ll see what happens in the next few days.

For now, let’s answer some of your questions and messages.

Julio Jacome of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, writes to opine that the recent White Sox trades involving Jim Thome and Jose Contreras were not good because the players we received in return have not helped us this year. He also thinks it was a mistake to acquire an outfielder like Alex Rios when what we really needed, according to Julio, is a second baseman that is more effective than Chris Getz. He ended his e-mail by saying that he is not convinced by Gordon Beckham.

It’s a matter of opinion, Julio. Personally, I think Alex Rios is going to help this organization a lot, although you are right to point out that down the stretch he hasn’t contributed much. As for Thome and Contreras, I think their departures did not affect our chances of competing for the title. Thome, a true baseball gentleman, accepted a trade to the Dodgers because his career is coming to an end and he dreams of winning a World Series ring before he retires. Obviously, the California team seems to have a better chance than we do of playing in the Fall Classic. As for Contreras, I think he needed a change of scenery and as his number one fan, Francisco Aguiar, points out, he’ll probably fare better in Colorado. Personally, I wish him the best of success because as I’ve always said, Jose is a great person, serious and hard-working with an unrivaled human touch.

Juan Carlos Martin of Miami writes to congratulate us for the moves that sent Thome to Los Angeles and Contreras to Colorado. That’s baseball. There are all kinds of opinions. Juan Carlos also says that the bad performance by the White Sox this year is not my fault and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I must correct him, however, because I get paid to make the team play well and if I don’t achieve that it means that I’m not doing my job well. It’s that simple.

Frank Abel Villalonga writes to us from La Habana to ask if there is a possibility that we will give Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez an opportunity to return to the White Sox. Frank points out that since the team rewarded Freddy Garcia’s contribution to the 2005 championship by giving him a chance to pitch with the team again, “El Duque” should be given the same consideration. I will pass along the message to our scouts so that they can evaluate Hernandez’s performance in the minor leagues. They would be the ones who would let General Manager Kenny Williams know whether or not we should sign him. In any case, you can never have too much pitching in this game.

Victor Saldivia of Valencia asks if I would be interested in managing another team besides the White Sox and if I currently see any team in the big leagues that conforms to my philosophy, which was called “Small Ball” in 2005 and I renamed “Smart Ball.” By that I mean that, rather than doing the “little things,” it’s more of game based on intelligence. Honestly, I wish I could manage the White Sox until I am over 100 years oldand have to be transported to the stadium in a wheel chair. I can’t see myself managing another team. However, I have always liked the way the Minnesota Twins play. They are the famous “piranhas,” who never seem to be in the postseason predictions of analysts but are always relevant because they do their job and play an aggressive, intelligent kind of baseball.

Along the same lines, Julio Acosta of Barcelona, Venezuela, wants to know if managing the Tiburones (Sharks) of La Guaira in Venezuela’s professional baseball league is among my goals. It is not, Julio, but it would be an honor and a dream come true to have that privilege. The Tiburones were the first team that gave me an opportunity to play professional baseball and I will always be grateful for that. My relationship with the team’s founder, Pedro Padron Panza, goes beyond that of owner and player. Panza and my family have established a very close friendship. I also have a great relationship with the new owners and my three sons are die-hard La Guaira fans, but managing during the off-season is not in my plans for the time being.

Victor Lapenta of Guyana asks if coaches in the organization are also promoted on September 1 when the Major League rosters expand from 25 players to 40. Yes, Victor, some coaches also are called up. As you yourself pointed out, they are responsible for overseeing the performance of the call-ups, but in the case of the White Sox, I try to get them involved in all team activities so that they can participate in all areas and give their opinions on different aspects of the game. In Venezuela we say four eyes can see better then two; therefore their input is always welcome.

William Ochoa of Salt Lake City says he has noticed a lack of intensity and aggressiveness in our last few games. What can I say, William? When a team is losing, everything seems horrible. Everything. But I can guarantee that it is not due to a lack of desire or of lost motivation or anything like that. The baseball season is really very long. There are 162 games, which demand physical and mental conditions that are difficult to maintain. That obviously goes for all the teams, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. When a team generates many expectations, which was our case this year, the effort and the mental fatigue is even greater. I suppose some of that could be going on, but I can guarantee everyone here goes out to battle with the same intensity, especially because we still hope for the miracle of winning the title, as difficult as it may seem.

Miguel Angel Barrios of San Francisco wants to know if my controversial statements are a result of ire or if I make them to get publicity. Miguel Angel adds that sometimes my statements are exaggerated, considering that baseball is a sport followed by children and young adults. Well Miguel Angel, first of all I must tell you that for publicity I only say and record what I am told by my commercial clients. I do not make statements, controversial or not, in order to get the attention of the media or to divert attention away from criticisms against my players as it has been suggested. I say what I feel even if sometimes I have to recant or apologize. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but it is how I have always been and what has allowed me to get to where I am right now. Fortunately, there are those “beeps” that keep children from hearing some of my more famous phrases.

Dimas Nieto of Barquisimeto points out that our defense is weak this year and asks if we plan to hire Omar Vizquel for the 2010 season. Certainly defense has been our Achilles heel and we are among the teams with the most errors in the Majors, although we’ve improved as of late. As for Omar, the truth is that we tried to sign him for the 2005 season when he decided to go instead to San Francisco, where he was being offered a three-year contract compared to the two-year contract the White Sox presented. For 2010, we have already decided that our shortstop will be Alexei Ramirez, who has improved considerably by playing the position. Perhaps I put extra pressure on him myself when I remarked, before the season started, that the Chicago fans would forget all about Ozzie Guillen when they saw Alexei play shortstop. My bad.

Carlos Sanchez of Rubio, Venezuela wants to know if we still have a chance of winning the division. Well Carlos, as I said at the beginning of the column, mathematically speaking we are still alive, but we have to win a lot of games. I can assure you that while we have even the slimmest of hopes, everyone here is going to go out there and battle and that no one is going to give up or wave the white flag. We shall see.

And now that I have picked up the phone to contact God, I am going to ask him for much health and wellbeing for all of those who during this first season of columns spent a few minutes of their time to share their opinions, concerns, doubts and words of optimism with me. This is the last column of this series for the 2009 season and I want to especially thank Raul Corro and Eduardo Menda Osorio of Caracas, Osmar Cardenas of Maracaibo, Gerardo Rangel of South Australia, Rafael Vergara of El Tocuyo, Pedro Luis Cova Salom of Guyana and Orlando Figueroa of Carora. I wish them and all those who have written to me throughout the course of these last six months the best of luck. Keep rooting for the White Sox!

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