Results tagged ‘ Omar Vizquel ’

Your questions, answered from Spring Training!

How’s everyone doing?? Last week was a great first week in Arizona. I had a few minutes, so I thought it was
a good time to answer some more of your questions …
Q: Ozzie, given (Bobby Jenks’) departure and the “closer” job being up for grabs, how do you feel about the Sabremetrics view that the closer’s role
is not practical. Outs are outs, and if you rely on a “closer” to get
outs when you need them to win the game, why not use them in a crucial
situation earlier? Would you/have you consider(ed) using a “closer”
early in the game? Why not send out the best guy for the job irrelevant of
their relief-pitcher label?
– Matt M. (Plainfield, Ill.)

A: You know, I have never felt comfortable doing that before because I
have never done it. I feel like
everyone has a role on the team and I trust the guys in front of the closer to
get the job done.

Q: Ozzie, I grew up watching you play with “La Guerilla” of the
Tiburones de La Guaira … but I was a Leones fan. Great rivalry in those
days. The question: Who is, in
your opinion, the next Venezuelan Hall of Famer? (I say Vizquel.)
– Ricardo S. (Ann
Arbor, Mich.)

A:  Omar Vizquel; I agree
with you.

Q: Why has the Caribbean Series gone down as far as competition? Why do you think that is? – Jose S. (Guarenas, Venezuela)

A: The Caribbean Series has gone down in terms of competition level because there are a lot of players that they don’t let play. Also, before they would pay players to go to the Caribbean Series, but now everybody has money. (hahaha)

Q: Whats up, Ozzie! Lets take the division and make some noise in the
playoff this year, papa! Baseball is a long season, sort of like going all 12
rounds in boxing. Who are some of your favorite boxers?
– Octavio G. (Southside
Chicago)

A:  Thank you, we will
try. Julio Ceasar Chavez, Roberto
Duran
, Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali. I also like Angel Zanoa, who as a 13-year-old kid beat the crap out of me; I will never forget it! (hahaha)

Q: Hey, Oz, great job with getting the site up. Do you think (Paul Konerko) has a legit chance at the HOF? Why or why not? – Mike C. (Schaumburg, Ill.)

A: I think he has a shot
because you will not see any players anymore with 600 home runs getting in. You will see players who did it clean
getting in with less home runs, so I definitely think he has a chance.

Q: How do you feel about the pitch counts? Players like (Nolan) Ryan or (Steve) Carlton, etc., never worried about pitch counts and completed games and did
well. Do you think that maybe pitchers now don’t get the arm strength because
they are not allowed to pitch past a certain count?
— Paul D. (Washington, Kan.)

A: I do believe in pitch
counts because of the endurance of the pitcher. Back in the day, I don’t know what those guys were made of (Iron and steel, maybe? I don’t know.) but it was very impressive.

Q: Hey, Ozzie, I’m really looking forward to this season. I know it’s
going to be great. My question is: What do you do after you get ejected from a
game?
– Andrew H. (McHenry, Ill.)

A: I go take a nap or
watch some Spanish soap operas. I
don’t watch the games — maybe once in a while when I hear the fans screen to see
what is going on. And, of course, I
do all of this while eating some popcorn.

Q: Hey, Ozzie. … What is your greatest memory while playing Winter League ball with the Tiburones de La Guaira? Who was your best friend inside the team? Tons of luck in the upcoming season! Regards. – Carlos T. (Valencia, Venezuela)

A: Thank you! My best memory was playing for “La
Guerilla” in the 80′s, and my best friend was Gus Polidor. May he rest in peace.

Q: What’s up, Ozzie! Have you kept in contact with our World Series MVP, Jermaine Dye? He was a heck of a ballplayer for the White Sox. Was there ever a
thought of bringing him back as part of the coaching staff?
– Octavio G.
(Chicago)

A:  Yes, man, JD is my boy; I love him and his family. To be a
coach, you need to have desire and passion for coaching, and I’m not sure JD has
that. You also need to be very
vocal, and I’m not sure JD wants to coach yet.

– Ozzie 

Q&A: On Aparicio, Sarasota and activating myself

How is everyone doing?? Hope you all dug yourselves out of the snow in Chicago. I answered some more of your questions. Keep them coming, I enjoy reading all of them. Before I answer them, I would just like to say this post is dedicated to Fermin Marmol Leon — may you rest in peace. 
On to your questions… 

Q: Ozzie, when I was growing up, I was a huge fan of Luis Aparicio, who of course if from your home country of Venezuela. Did Luis’ career inspire you, and do you know how he’s doing? I haven’t heard much about him since he retired in 1975. Best regards, and go Sox! – Mike W. 

A: I grew up with Luis Aparicio’s uncle, who helped me out a lot. But no, Luis was not one of my inspirations. I was a little too young for his time. Luis right now is in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, enjoying life! 

Q: Who was your favorite speaker at your Roast? – Bob C. 

A: My favorite speaker at the Roast was my son, Ozzie Jr., and Peggy Kusinski was also very good. But the best all around was probably the host, Chris Rongey

Q: Miss Spring Training in Sarasota at all? Speaking for many Sox fans here, we miss you guys! Once enjoyed having a cold one with Ron Schueler after a round of golf and saw him call the dugout during a game to talk to Terry Bevington about you playing right field. Remember that game? – Scott H. 

A: No, I don’t remember that game, but I do miss Sarasota; had some great times and memories there! I have to say, though, that I love where the Sox are right now in Arizona. 

Q: You seem to like looking into the crowd during games, so what is the craziest thing you have seen in the crowd? – Anthony D. 

A: Once back in the ’80′s, when I was playing at Old Comiskey Park, I saw a couple being … let’s say “intimate.” (hahaha)

Q: Which Venezuelan will be part of your team this year? Who is the White Sox’s No. 1 Venezuelan prospect? – Hector F. 

A: I am very proud of once again having Omar Vizquel on my team this year. I can’t answer who the best prospect is because the Minor League system is very large and my focus is on the big team. 

Q: If you could play ball with any player on today’s team, who would it be and why? – Kyle B. 

A: Good question, but I would play with my whole team if I was playing. They all play hard and have fun doing it. That’s the way I played. 

Q: Ozzie, would you ever wanna be the owner of the winter ball team Tiburones de La Guaira? Would you ever want to be their manager? – Juan C. 

A: I have always wanted to be the owner of the winter ball team Tiburones de La Guaira. If I had the money and time to invest in the team, I would. Right now, I have to take care of my three kids — imagine me taking care of a whole team. (haha) But you never know what the future might bring! 

Q: Once the Sox clinch the division in September, is there any chance that you will activate yourself for one game and come in as a defensive replacement and play alongside Vizquel? That would be great! – Jimmy Z

A: I would never activate myself. I respect baseball, the players and the fans too much to do that.

Q: Hello, Ozzie. You had your extension picked up through 2012, but you will be managing the Sox way past that, right? Please. – Will O. 

A: I hope I am managing the White Sox for the rest of my life; that’s my goal. But it’s not my choice. 

– 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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