What a crazy couple of days, but we are finally here in Caracas. First, Team Pepsi and Polar did an amazing job for the Home Run Derby event here last weekend. It turned out great! We had a bunch of local stars come out for the event, and even one international star, none other than Andruw Jones. Omar Vizquel and Andres Galarraga were some of the many stars on hand to support the cause. We were able to raise a bunch of money for charity and it really couldn’t have turned out any better. My wife Ibis, Dimitry and the whole staff deserve a lot of credit . We took a ton of pictures and I will be posting them soon.
The winner of the derby ended up being a guy named Luis Jimenez, a big lefty that hit three balls out of the stadium. It was impressive. My favorite, though, had to be Big Z (Carlos Zambrano). He hit two balls out right-handed, and boy does he have some pop.
OK, now onto the important stuff. On Wednesday, we went over to the hospital and donated toys to all the cancer patients and their families for Christmas. The Ozzie Guillen Foundation has helped do this since 1998 and we will not stop. I will continue this tradition for as long as I can and help out as much as possible because it’s truly a joy to see how much these families appreciate what we do. It’s almost like they think I’m their Santa Claus! The smile on these kids’ faces is special and so is being able to watch them grow up and survive.
During this time of year, I check out what’s going on in Major League Baseball once in a while, but not that often really. I see that the Bears lost last week, let’s hope they can get back on track!
I will be back in Chicago before I know it to check out some Bulls games. I know they just added Richard Hamilton, or as I know him, the guy that wears the mask. I think he should make them better, what do you guys think? I also saw the NBA Commissioner blocking trades, WOW, that is some serious stuff! I hope it all works out in the end.
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!
Well, we are finally back home after what turned out to be a pretty good weekend in Cleveland. That’s the way you end a long road trip on a good note. We kinda stumbled a bit in Kansas City, but the guys responded and showed what they were made of.
We did get a little break there yesterday with the center fielder making an error, but like I have said before, I would rather be lucky than good (haha). We got a couple great outings by Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd, and everyone in the bullpen did a great job. When you get that kinda pitching along with some timely hitting and great defense by the old timer Omar Vizquel, it usually leads to a win. Now it’s time for a long homestand.
Not exactly sure what the numbers are, but I think we have played better on the road this year than at home. I hope that changes because this homestand is going to be a test, and we need to defend out home field. We start out the homestand with the Tigers tonight, a team we need to beat. Hope to see you guys out there.
I also want to say congrats to my man, a friend and someone I played with and against — Roberto Alomar. He was the best and smartest player I ever saw. Also, congrats to Bert Blyleven, as well. These guys both represented the game of baseball the way you should, and I’m very happy for them!
Well, we all know how that West Coast trip went. It’s kind of weird because, as you guys know, we usually really have a tough time out there. We will take three series wins on a road trip anytime. I had the great experience of spending our off-day last week in Napa Valley at the Kunde Family Estate with my wife. We had a very awesome time with some great wine and met some great people.
The good feelings continued during the weekend in Oakland. Gavin Floyd did not have his best stuff a couple of days ago, but we won the series and that’s what matters the most. Again, Omar Vizquel continues to do it for us. I’m not sure how he does it, but oh my … God has been great to him and I’m happy for him. We also got some very good pitching from Phil Humber and Mark Buehrle, and our bullpen was very good the entire trip; Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos have all been awesome for really the entire month of May so far.
I’m really looking forward to being back home in Chicago and playing against a good man in Ron Washington and the American League-champion Texas Rangers. This series won’t be easy, but hopefully we will continue to compete and play like we have on the road. I remember seeing the Rangers in the World Series last year when I helped FOX on the broadcasts, and that team has a lot of personality. I really like the characters that they have on that team, and it’s probably a lot of the reason they were so good.
So I hope to see you out at the park this week and let’s hope this weather keeps getting better and better. Oh yeah, and of course … Go Bulls!! I’m watching very closely!
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
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!
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What’s up, everyone? Just getting an off day here in
Kansas City, and it’s freezing cold and windy! So guess what I decided to
do … ? That’s right, I went golfing, and let’s just say that was a very,
very, very bad idea. Not planning on doing too much today, other than
warming up and will probably try to get some rest before going out to dinner
with my wife.
Cleveland was actually a lot of fun this weekend and it’s
usually not (haha). I’m just kidding — sort of — I like Jacobs Field (or
whatever they are calling it these days) a lot. I look forward to making
better memories there from now on, because I have some bad ones from when
Omar Vizquel‘s team used to kick our butts in the ’90s. I’m glad we went
in there and swung the bats well and for the most part pitched well.
Speaking of Omar, are you kidding me?! He doesn’t play at all the
first 2 games and then goes in there against the Justin Masterson kid, who was nasty,
and gets 2 hits in his first 2 at-bats. Not sure exactly how he does it,
but wow, very impressive.
I hope we can continue to play well and keep having fun
because when we hit the ball like that, I look like a genius (haha). It
probably won’t be as easy here in Kansas City; this team is going to play some
very good baseball and probably do better than what most people are expecting. Look what they did to the Angels this past weekend. We have to be ready
to play. A lot of people ask me about which stadiums I like, and this one
here in Kansas City is my favorite; just a great stadium.
OK, that’s all for today. Wish us luck, and I better see you
all at The Cell on Thursday!
Well, it’s almost over! I’m all packed as we finish up Spring Training here today and head to
Winston-Salem to face one of our Minor League teams tomorrow. Then it’s on to Cleveland for Opening
Day on Friday.
Here are the last
set of your questions before the 2011 season starts …
Q: Hey, Ozzie, greetings from Maracaibo. I’d like to see you in the playoffs again. I’m a big fan of you how manage, even though the last few years you’ve lost some games. Is your game a Caribbean style? — Eneil G. (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
A: I can only work with what I’ve got. Sometimes, the pieces they give me don’t fit the Caribbean style. But this year, I feel we have more better speed and there are going to be a lot of runners on base.
Q: I’m really interested in why Adam Dunn is batting third. I would think that with his high strikeout record and low batting average, that Paul Konerko would be better in that slot. Just interested to hear why you think differently. — Brian M. (Minneapolis, Minn.)
A: I think Dunn is around a .370 on-base percentage. But it was never
a choice for me between Dunn or P.K., it was a choice between Dunn and Alex Rios. I
felt more comfortable with the guys the way we have them. But anything can
change, although I hope I don’t change the lineup too much.
Q: Hey, Ozzie. I see the White Sox have one roster spot left open. Have you thought about giving that to Domingo Ayala? I hear he’s got unbelievable God-given talents. — Dale H. (Rockford, Ill.)
A: I would pay to have Domingo on my team, just so I
could see him dress up and make everyone laugh (haha).
Q: Who’s a better person — Luis Aparicio or Dave Concepcion? — Greg M. (Managua, Nicaragua)
A: They’re both good people. They treat me very well, and they’re both stars and I respect them a lot.
Q: Ozzie, I’m a Venezuelan lawyer with experience in sports and I’m doing my Master’s in Chicago! I want to work with the White Sox. Can you help me? — Pablo G. (La Guaira, Venezuela)
A: Well, I’d like to help you but that’s not my area of expertise. Send your info to the White Sox offices and see what they say. Good luck.
Q: What do you think of Lastings Milledge? I know he was a Cubs killer in Pittsburgh. I think he is a great defensive replacement in later innings. — Robert W. (Darien, Ill.)
A: I think if Lastings stays within himself and doesn’t try and do too much, he can help us — not only in late innings, but starting as well.
Q: What changes in the division’s balance of power demand your greatest attention? Will Jake Peavy make it OK uninjured? How are Dunn and Gordon Beckham adjusting? — Jeffery M. (Chicago)
A: I think every
year the AL central gets better. Yes, even the Twins and Royals got better. But
that makes it more fun competing against them. I hope Peavy makes it ok–we
need him. I think Dunn will be fine and Gordo should be ok, these guys just
want season to start already.
Q: Can Lastings Milledge be an everyday player for you guys? How did it go with Manny Ramirez last year? Take care. — Guillermo R.
A: I don’t think Lastings is going to be a regular because we already have three very good outfielders. Manny and I were fine. Really, he never gave me any problems, and I have a lot of respect for him.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, will your English Bulldog be at “Dog Day.” And does he bark at you in Spanish or English? (HA!) Have a great season. — Dave G. (Glenview, Ill.)
A: DH won’t be “Dog Day” because he usually humps everything he sees (hahaha). He speaks both
English and Spanish.
Q: Ozzie, who will be the next three Venezuelans in the Hall of Fame if everything stays on course? Do you hear Gaita? — Jose R. (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
A: Omar Vizquel, Miguel Cabrera, and after that I don’t know who has a real chance. I hear Gaita in December. But only in December (haha).
Thank you for all your questions since the website launch. They have been fun to read and
hopefully we can continue to do this once the season starts. Thank you to all the fans that came out
to Spring Training this year. We really appreciate your support.
Monday, and we are getting closer and closer to Opening Day! For everyone that is going to be in
Chicago for Opening Day, please keep your schedule open, as there is going to be
a way for you to come out and enjoy the game with White Sox fans and support The Ozzie Foundation. More details
are coming this week, and I will be sure to post them!
more good ones this week. … Enjoy.
make themselves great? — Mickey S. (Trabuco Canyon, Cal.)
helped! They also worked very
hard, but the one thing I will tell you about all the great players is they
study the game within the game. They don’t just go out there and play.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, I love your website and the initiative to create it so that we are more in touch with you. How difficult is it for you to build your roster when you have so much talent in Spring Training, and do you have to send some of it to the Minors? — Teodoro M. (Caracas, Venezuela)
A: Thanks; the idea behind the website was to be more connected to the fans. Building the roster isn’t that difficult because the majority of the time, the ballplayers are in or out based on their play. For me, the thing I like least about my job is sending down players to the Minors because I at one point was one of those, and as an older player, too (haha).
Q: A pleasure, Mr. Guillen. I’d like your opinion with regards to the next manager of Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Who’s capable in our country to be in charge of that? — Marcos (Barquisimeto, Venezuela)
A: Good question, and I wish I had the answers. I don’t think that the reason Venezuela has lost in the last two WBC’s is Luis Sojo‘s fault. The reason has to be that the teams from Asia have a lot of time together and they’ve already been playing the entire year, while the other teams can’t play up to their full potential. I really think there could be a lot of managers who can keep order and that the players would want to play for.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, cheers from Maracaibo. Let me tell you that I manage the White Sox more than you. Of course, I do it while playing on the Wii. I admire you. Best of luck this season. Are we going to be champions again? (hahahaha) — Alberto B. (Maracaibo, Venezuela)
A: (hahahaha) I’m sure you do a better job than me. Hopefully we’re champions — you on Wii and me in real life.
Q: Oswaldo, you have been very successful being how you are. I’m surprised you say you’re going to change because if you do, you’ll lose your identity. Will you really change? — Hector M. (El Tocuyo, Venezuela)
A: Well, I’m 47 years old. I don’t think I’m going to change now at this age. I say it in the sense of trying to be more calm because every time they throw me out of a game it costs me money (haha). Lots of money, and my family can benefit from that.
Q: So many kids are playing ball for teams that practice year-round
these days. Is that a good thing, or do you think they need time away so their
bodies can rest and mature without straining the arm all year? –– Bob C.
A: Well, I think it’s a good thing and a bad thing. You don’t want your arm to get too
tired, so I agree with that. I also
believe that kids that play year-round have an advantage over kids who don’t, because the only way you get better is by practice. But you never want to blow a kid’s arm out, so there is
probably a balance.
Q: Ozzie, how important is it to win Spring Training games? Do you
focus more on how the pitchers are doing rather than the wins? — DJ (Antioch,
A: Not important. I focus
on health and how certain players respond in game situations, like a hit and run
for example. That’s pretty much
what I look for.
Q: Best of luck this season, Oswaldo! Tiburones and White Sox forever! My question is: Where do you rank yourself among the best Venezuelan shortstops? With Luis Aparicio, Dave Concepcion, Omar Vizquel, where are you? — Sergio C. (Philadelphia)
A: Well, those players are and were the best, as well as role models to kids, and now I have the honor of serving as manager to one of them. To me, Omar is the one who dominated the position. David was my idol and the prettiest (haha). Luis is the only Hall of Famer and the one with the most girlfriends (hahaha). And me, I’m the one that has the most money (haha) — just joking. I’m honored to say that with all of them I’ve had relationships and friendships that I’ll never forget.
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
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!
* 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)