Results tagged ‘ Ozzie Guillen Foundation ’

Exciting new developments!

ozzieguillenfoundation-1Well, this is a bit weird, but it’s great to be talking to you all again. I’m finally back in the country and in the great city of Chicago! I have been watching some baseball, but haven’t been focused on one team. It’s kind of strange being able to focus on the entire league for the first time in a very long time. Since I have signed on with ESPN and ESPN Deportes for this season, I have to keep track of all the teams and stay on top of things.

I have to tell you, ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., is the place to be. The place is something to see, and being able to work with the people there is even better. Every time I go the experience gets better. They have some personalities there, and getting the opportunity to sit in on “First Take” a couple of times this year will be very fun. I’m excited about sitting in with Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo. It doesn’t seem like work with those guys. I will be around for the All-Star Game and postseason, so it will be nice to stay around the game. Hopefully, you will get a chance to see and I can bring something extra to the broadcasts.

As you may have seen on my Twitter and Facebook, I’m extremely excited about bringing my foundation, the Ozzie Guillen Foundation, to the city of Chicago. We are hosting an event on May 29 at The Grid, and you can find more info on the foundation’s temporary website. It’s really a privilege to bring the foundation to what I consider to be my hometown. My hope is that I can give back just a little to the community that supported me so incredibly throughout my career. Please check it out and consider spending the evening with us if you can.

I will talk to you guys again soon. I plan on writing these more often as the season goes on.

2013 sure to be a busy year

Well, it’s been a minute since I last wrote one of these things, but I’m very excited to be back in the swing of things. I have a lot of things planned for 2013, and I hope it’s going to be a good one. Actually, I’m sure it’s going to be a good one.

My family and I just got back from a weekend in Galena, Ill. I know what you’re thinking (haha). Yes, us Latinos also enjoy the snow once in a while. We had a great time relaxing and enjoying nature – there is nothing like family.

It’s been a little weird seeing Spring Training start and not being a part of it, but I’m over it for now. I’m sure my time will come again.

I’m very excited to announce that I will be joining ESPN Deportes for their coverage of the World Baseball Classic. I couldn’t be happier and I’m looking forward to the games. I love working with ESPN; they are always first class. They know me well and I’m very familiar with them, so hopefully more things will come in the future.

We are also working hard on an Ozzie Guillen Foundation event coming this spring. It will be our first real foundation event in the U.S. and I’m excited for what’s to come. I will be able to give more details soon.

Before Spring Training is over I hope to give you all my picks for the season. Fans just need to relax during this time since nothing is certain. Hope all is well with everyone and speak again soon!

Happy holidays to everyone!

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a little while since I have written, but I have been just relaxing a little bit trying to stay out of the limelight. I spent a lot of time back in Chicago where I will be living for the most part. Yes, it’s freezing, but I had plenty to do to keep me occupied. I have been going to bunch of basketball games, mostly DePaul University. There is something about watching the young kids play that is fun for me.

While doing all of that, I did have the TV on in the background, so I have seen some of the big moves that were made. I talked to a couple of the guys, like Mark Buehrle, and wished them the best of luck. We had a lot to talk about.

For now, I’m back in Venezuela for Christmas and New Year’s. Most of all I’m here because no matter what happens to me, the Ozzie Guillen Foundation always has a lot of work to do. We have done a couple of great events, and there never seems like there is enough time to help out the children that are less fortunate. That’s what we do. We also had our annual Team Pepsi Home Run Derby and as always it was a huge success. Every year stars from the Winter Ball teams and Major League Baseball participate, and it keeps getting better and better.

I will be back in the states in January, but don’t worry, I have a feeling you might be seeing me on TV somewhere in the future. This season will mark the first time since 1982 that I haven’t been associated with a team. It’s going to be a little weird, but everything happens for a reason and I’m ready to tackle the next challenge.

My New Year’s resolution is to lose 15 pounds and I have already started. Better to start early than to start late. Anybody else have a good one for 2013?

Playing Santa in Caracas

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 JonesOmar 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.

Taking a trip to Panama

I swear every time I’m in the city of Chicago I never want to leave, but its time to head for some warmer weather again! I’m going to Panama on Wednesday to relax and spend some time with my family. It’s going to be an amazing trip. I’m also there to help out — as I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts — my good friend Andruw Jones and his charity. I expect us to be visiting some schools and hospitals while I am there. Whatever they ask me to do I will be excited to do it. I will also get to see my good buddy Ruben Blades, hopefully. These people have done so much to help out the Ozzie Guillen Foundation in Venezuela, so it’s the least I can do. My foundation helps kids and their families dealing with cancer and other problems. It’s important we recognize how much these families often struggle for the simplest of things, so giving back in any way is good.

We will also be able to fit in some down time as well. This is a vacation, after all! I’m sure we will hit the beach a bunch and get a chance to check out some of the golf courses and try out my new clubs from Tour Edge. This will be my first trip to Panama, so we will get some sightseeing in as well. Anybody been there before and have something good for us to do?

I watched the Bears game yesterday. Congrats to them on the win and staying hot. It is too bad to hear about the injury to Jay Cutler and his thumb, as he was playing really well. Hopefully they can continue to play well and make the playoffs; it won’t be easy, but I think they can do it.

A couple more things before I forget: The website is going to be getting a new look here soon, so I hope you all enjoy what we have come up with. Stay tuned!

I want to say thank you to the people at ESPN The Magazine who were at my house last Friday for a photo shoot. I will post some pics from the shoot tomorrow and keep you updated on when they will run.

I hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving this week. Always be grateful for what you have and work hard for what you want. Make sure you give thanks for your health, as it should always be at the top of your wish list. As always, God Bless!

What a World Series!

What a World Series. Wow! Looking back, I just can’t believe all the crazy things that happened during that Series. It was definitely fun to watch and fun to be there in that environment with ESPN. I can’t say enough how awesome everyone was there and I look forward to working with them again in the future. Well I guess it’s not up to me (haha), but I would definitely like to do it again.

Congrats to Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals. It’s not about who is the best team, it’s about who gets hot at the right time, and the Cardinals proved that. On the other side of it, I was very proud of Ron Washington and the whole Texas Rangers team for battling through everything and almost being on top.

After the Series I went to New York to watch my good friend Ruben Blades perform along with 8 Y Mas. What an amazing concert, but even more amazing was the snow! It was not very fun, but I can tell you the drinks made it a lot more interesting (haha).

Right now, I’m back in Venezuela doing some things for my foundation, the Ozzie Guillen Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to helping kids dealing with cancer and their families. This is without a doubt the best part about being a “celebrity.” Just the fact that we can help to give back and make such a huge impact on people’s lives means more to me than anything else. I’m also here to support my buddy Carlos Zambrano and his Home Run Derby that is going to take place in Puerto Cabello, close to the beach. We are also filming a Pepsi commercial down here with Carlos and Bobby Abreu. Here are some pictures:

After all of these activities we are headed back to Miami for the unveiling of the new Miami Marlins logo. To be honest with you, I haven’t seen the logo yet but I am very excited.  I have heard a lot about some leaks and I don’t know what is true and what is not. I have heard some good and some bad things, but I can’t wait to see what they have done with it … let’s hope for the best!

New photos are up — check ‘em out!

Hey, everyone. I uploaded a new photo album to my website. Here is a pic of Big Z (Carlos Zambrano) and I with our better halves at his charity event in Arizona …

New Image.JPGYou can see all the pics up now, along with the pics of my Foundation’s charity event we held on Opening Day. I want to thank everyone who came out one last time. Since I wasn’t there, all I can go by are the pictures and what people tell me, and it sounds like it went awesome.

Thank you so much for your support, and thanks to Public House for hosting the event. We are already in the works on planning some bigger events coming up this season!

– Ozzie

Q&A: On The Hall, winning ST games & my team

What’s up, everybody?  It’s
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! 
You guys are always on top of your game when asking me questions; some
more good ones this week. … Enjoy.
Q: Hi, Ozzie, how are you? My question is, are you happy with the rotation you have, and how is Paul Konerko? Take care. – Rolando R. (Santa Barbara, Venezuela)
A: Yes, I am very happy with the rotation because if all our pitchers stay healthy, we have a chance to win a lot of games. Konerko, I imagine, is fine (hahaha). I never worry about him. 
Q: Hey, brother, greetings from Venezuela and lots of well wishes to you and your family. We’d love to have a Venezuelan manager in the Hall of Fame. What do you need to accomplish professionally in the future to be considered eligible? – Angel P. (Bocono, Venezuela)
A: Well, thanks for the well wishes. Look, to enter the Hall of Fame, you have to manage for many years and win as a manager. But at this moment, I don’t worry about that. I’d like to win more championships — that’s the only thing that matters in baseball. 
Q: You played and coached a few Hall of Famers. … What did they do different to
make themselves great?
— Mickey S. (Trabuco Canyon, Cal.)

A: (hahaha) Well, obviously, they had a lot of talent, so that
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.
(Chicago)

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,
Ill.)

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. 

– Ozzie 

Your questions — and your chance to win!

What’s up, everyone!? I’m just about ready to leave the sunshine of Venezuela and head back to the cold and snow of Chicago. Next weekend, I will be in town for SoxFest and also have a special event planned that I am sure some of you have heard about — my Celebrity Roast. 670 The Score has decided to put together a Celebrity Roast of me, and from what I have heard, I better make sure I am ready for this! I am very grateful that partial proceeds for the event are going to the Ozzie Guillen Foundation, and they told me the event sold out in less than four days. I want to thank everyone for their support! Now, if you have been paying attention to my Twitter or Facebook, you know I still have a couple of tickets left to give away for the Roast. I think we came up with a pretty good idea to make you earn them… 
But, first, your questions…
Q: What can I do to make a donation to the Ozzie Guillen Foundation? 
A: As we speak, the Foundation is being brought over to the States. I will keep you guys posted as to how to help out as soon as I can. 
Q: Do you prefer using the hit-and-run early or late in games; are there certain counts you like using it more than others? 
A: To be honest, it really depends on who is hitting and a bunch of other factors. Generally speaking, the game will dictate when and where I use it. 
Q: Do you think Brent Morel will have a long future with the Sox considering how well he played at the end of last year? 
A: The first time I saw Brent Morel was in Kannapolis, N.C.; he was roommates with my son, Oney. Oney told me how good this kid was, and when I first saw him, I thought, “Wow, this kid has good hands.” He really reminded me of Joe Crede with less power. 
Q: Because of your Roast, will you be at SoxFest on Friday, Jan. 21? 
A: I will be at SoxFest on Friday. The Roast is a little later, so I will be at both. 
Q: If you had the option to Roast anyone, who would it be? 
A: I am not sure who I would Roast — maybe a lot of people! (haha) I would just hope people would be able to understand me. 
OK, now, back to what everyone wants to know. I have two pairs of tickets to give away, and there are only two rules: You have to be at least 21 years old, and you must be able to make it to the event in Elk Grove, Ill., on Jan. 21. 
Here’s how you win… 
I want you, in exactly 13 words, to tell me why you deserve the tickets to my Roast. Don’t be shy, either. I want something creative, and remember, anything goes! You can submit your answer to this e-mail: info@TripleCrownMktg.com. I will personally select the two that I think earned their spot at my Roast. 
Submissions will be accepted now through Monday, Jan. 17. Good luck!
– Ozzie 

Embarrassment!

Embarrassed. That is how we should all feel after these first games against the Red Sox and the Yankees in their home fields. We knew the 10-day road trip would be difficult, but not even in my worst nightmare did I imagine we would have a 1-5 record in the first six games. When we have won, we have won as a team. Now we must all face these defeats with the same embarrassment because every one of us shares in the responsibility. I am embarrassed and I question myself, thinking I am not doing the right things to earn the salary I am paid to make this team competitive and a fighter. I question myself and I am ashamed for not devising a lineup that produces runs to win, and for not putting the right pitcher on the mound to get outs. And if anyone on this team does not feel the same shame that I do, then I think he chose the wrong job.

As I write this column it is Saturday night in New York and a bitter taste lingers in my mouth from the loss to the Yankees by a score of 10-0. A game in which your team has more errors than hits has to be an embarrassment. I think even the kids that are playing in the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania played better that day than we did. The worst part is that I know our squad is better than what we have shown on the field in these first six games as the visiting team. Last Monday, when we began the road trip in Boston, Armando Talavera, a Venezuelan journalist based in New York, asked me my opinion on the White Sox. I answered, “I have the team to be a World Series champion.” I suppose that Armando must be thinking about recommending I see a psychiatrist to cure my delusions of grandeur. But it’s the truth. On paper, we have the talent and the material to be champions, but we need to execute.

I have never considered myself a loser and much less a pessimist, but if you ask me right now, I think we are in a difficult situation because we put ourselves in it. We know where the mountain summit is, and we have the desire to reach it, but it seems like our legs are not strong enough to get us there. At least that seems to be the case after losing those series against the Yankees and the Red Sox. On Monday we begin the last series of the road trip at the Metrodome where the Twins appear to be unbeatable. I imagine it will be a good opportunity to show we are still alive, we still have desires and that we are still in the race for the division title that we won last year with so many sacrifices.

Before I begin responding to some of your questions and comments, I want to take this opportunity to tell you that reading your positive and encouraging messages is, most of the time, a way to regain optimism in difficult moments like this one. Thank you for your loyalty and for your support.

Ben Morgan of Lincoln, Nebraska, wrote in English to ask me a question I have asked myself hundreds of times without finding an answer! Why does our offense shut down when it faces a young pitcher for the first time? Honestly, Ben, I don’t know. We know the pitcher always has an advantage over the batter who, as you point out, adapts himself and makes adjustments with each at-bat. The pitcher certainly has control of the situation, not only because he has the ball in his hand, but because he knows what pitch he is going to throw and if it will be a curve, a fastball, a changeup or a slider. He knows what speed he is going to throw at, from what height, and at what distance from the plate – high, low, inside or outside. In other words, the batter is standing at home plate with his bat in his hand, preparing to make contact with a sphere that could be coming in at 70 or 100 miles per hour, without knowing if it is going to break to one side, drop, etc. He only has a few seconds to make a decision. When the batter is unfamiliar with the pitcher, he becomes the most vulnerable of hitters because he does not know his opponent’s repertoire. But it has been that way since baseball was invented and by the second or third at-bat, the hitter should have a better understanding of the situation and make the necessary adjustments to be successful. This problem has been very costly to us this year, but I insist that I don’t know why.

Guillermo Rada of Cumana, Venezuela, says he is intrigued by what happened last year with Javier Vazquez, who is having a successful season with the Atlanta Braves. Guillermo wants to know if I put him on the spot for what he calls “poor emotional strength.” I can tell you, Guillermo, that I met Javier when I was a coach with the Montreal Expos and I always liked his attitude on the mound and his human touch. Last year he had several opportunities to help this team in crucial games and unfortunately he couldn’t get the job done. That happens in baseball.

Perhaps it was a bad year, something that everyone goes through in their careers. Personally I wish him the best of luck because as he himself said, with what he has earned up until this point he will be able to live peacefully when he retires and he will be able to spend time happily with his family.

Dr. Julio Antonio Machillanda of Porlamar, Venezuela, is one of many fans who’ve written to make comments about Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras. On this list are names such as Frank Abel Villalonga of Havana, Alfredo Valle of Tenerife, Orlando Garcia of Naples, Roberto Trujillo de Santa Cruz of Tenerife, Jorge Amaro and several others.

Oddly enough, Francisco Aguiar of Tampa, who has on several occasions sent me messages accusing me of mistreating Contreras, of not using him correctly, of not knowing when to replace him and a long list of other objections, did not write this time. Last week, a journalist in Boston asked me if Jose would start another game for Chicago. I replied that I have three kids and that I would love to live to see my grandchildren. I would not like to die prematurely of a heart attack. Nonetheless, Contreras started against the Yankees on Saturday because we simply did not have a better option. If you ask me why he’s experiencing this disaster, I must respond I do not know because it is safe to say that Contreras is a hard worker and a warrior. Some of you, in your e-mails, say that you know him from his days in Cuba and that the problem can be a lack of concentration, that he is not throwing underarm, that he is not using the forkball and a whole slew of other explanations. I, more than anyone, continue to hope that Jose will regain the form he had in 2005 when he helped us become World Series champions, especially now that we need him urgently. Let’s see what happens.

Jonathan Gallegos of Bogota also offered his opinion on Contreras and wonders why I waited so long to take him out of the game when the Red Sox scored six runs off of him in one inning. In addition to pointing out that sometimes I talk too much, something that should not surprise anyone, Jonathan offers some suggestions as to how to manage the team. Well Jonathan, I am going to repeat what I have said several times in my career. The farther you are from the field, the more intelligent you feel. Those who watch the games from the stands see everything clearly and know more than the managers and the 5 or 6 coaches in the dugout. I once said I was going to provide every fan with a cell phone so that they could call me and tell me what to do before plays and not afterwards, which is usually the case. There are many things that the fans are not aware of that influence decisions. Explaining them all would be enough to fill a book. But thanks anyways for taking a few minutes of your time to share your opinion with me.

Liz Pinto of Valencia, Venezuela, comments on the great year that Cleveland Santeliz is having with the Birmingham Barons, our Class-AA affiliate and wants to know what I think about my fellow countryman. Liz is not the only person following Santeliz, whom I described in a previous column as “a great kid with a good attitude to pitch.” Part of his success comes from staying healthy. He has been regarded as having great talent since he was signed, but the injuries had not allowed
him to prove it.

He is one of the Venezuelan players who are opening doors for themselves in our farm system and one of the players that I hope will be in the big leagues soon so that I can answer all those who ask me, on a weekly basis, why there aren’t more Venezuelan players on the White Sox if Ozzie Guillen is the manager. I hope a few are on their way.

Many also wrote in these last two weeks to comment on the addition of Freddy Garcia to our roster. Some of the questions and comments arrived before Freddy debuted with our uniform this year while others came after his second start. Elio Barroso of Charallaves, Jesus Ramos of Santa Teresa del Tuy, Roysbelk Garcia of Cua, Eliel Padrino and Reinaldo Perez of Caracas, Yubin Rios of Maracaibo, Thomas Enrique Perez Ramos, Victor Lapenta, Miguel Saldivia and many others are on the list. In an interview that appeared last Saturday in the Chicago Sun-Times, Freddy admitted that for the first time in two years he feels truly healthy and has no pain in his pitching arm. I think his start in Boston showed that. That day, Freddy proved he is in Chicago not because he married my wife’s niece, or because Kenny Williams has a charity and wants to show his appreciation to all whose who helped us win the World Series in 2005. Freddy is here because he underwent a physical showed that his shoulder was healthy and because he looked good in his minor league starts. Is he going to win all of his starts from now on? I don’t think so, but surely he is going to help, and I hope he helps enough to be considered next year when in theory we will have 4 set starters (Buehrle, Danks, Floyd and Peavy) and there will be a fifth spot up for grabs. But that is a topic for another day because for now we are focused on 2009 and on our fight to get to the postseason, for which we will need Freddy’s help.

Dario Sanchez of Valencia, Venezuela, asked me if I consider myself a member of what he calls “the new generation of Major League managers.” Well, I suppose so because aside from being a young manager in comparison to most of the current big league skippers, I also belong to a generation that has no choice but to see the game differently from how it has been viewed in the recent past.

I imagine you have guessed by now I am referring to the “steroid era” and other banned substances. This new generation that I belong to must revert to an intelligent game, one that does not depend on homeruns and is based on good defense, speed on the bases, timely plays and, of course, good pitching. I suppose that is what we will see in the next few years and the manager who makes those adjustments first is going to have an advantage over his rivals.

Marvin Jose Gomez Hernandez of Cabimas ,Venezula, wants to know if my warning that I would pay back with the same token if other teams kept plunking my players was a way of motivating my team to be more aggressive in all aspects of the game. No, in reality it was just a warning to opposing teams. A manager must protect his players in all aspects of the game and it is not acceptable that while the Chicago White Sox are the team whose pitchers have hit the least number of opposing batters in the majors, that our players are third in being hit. Someone once said, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” And it certainly wasn’t me who said it!

Emison Soto of Maracaibo, Venezuela, wants to know who is in charge of evaluating young talent in our country. Emison, our scout is Amador Arias.

Professor Miguel Antonio Narvaez of San Carlos in the state of Cojedes in Venezuela writes to ask my help with starting a baseball academy in that region. Jean Carlos Viloria of Chichiriviche makes a similar request for a little league team in that town, located in the state of Falcon. If it were up to me, I would be starting baseball teams all over the world, in part to show my gratitude for all this sport has meant in my life. Nonetheless, the foundation that my wife oversees in Venezuela has decided to allocate the few resources we have to children’s health, which is just as important or even more important than sports. This foundation, by the way, does not make fixed contributions to any institution, but it also has no expenses because those who help Ibis in her work do so free of charge. No one is paid a single penny. Our occasional funds come from events that we organize ourselves (autograph signings, auctions of items from the Major Leagues, etc.) that unfortunately, in the last few years we have not been able to have because of my multiple commitments. Nonetheless, every year we seek help in order to honor our commitment to the Association of Parents of Children with Cancer, to whom we donate more than 350 Christmas gifts. More importantly, we attend their Christmas party. Thank God that there are entities like Polar and Tiburones of La Guaira that help us keep serving this organization that does such extraordinary work. I promise when we have more resources I will consider your requests.

Rafael Garcia of Margarita, Venezuela, sent me a list of Venezuelan players who belong to other teams and asked me which ones I would like to have in Chicago. Although I am not the person who hires players, certainly on Rafael’s list there are names that any manager would want on his roster. Nonetheless, they have all made commitments to their respective organizations, which are not likely to let them go because of their quality. Venezuelan players are more and more sought-after in this market, which should fill baseball lovers in their country with pride.

Two questions from the “Wild West.” Angel Rivera of Tucson, Arizona, solicits my opinion about Puerto Rican Alex Rios. Well Angel, I think Alex is going to help us a lot although he has not yet reached his full potential. I think he is still adjusting. And Carlos Castillo of El Plano, Texas, asks why we did not walk Mike Lowell intentionally in the game against Boston that Jose Contreras lost. According to Carlos, Contreras was nervous. Imagine that! From Texas, you knew that Contreras, a veteran of a thousand battles in Cuba, was nervous and that Lowell was going to hit a home run off of him. It’s true that the farther you get from the field, the more intelligent people are.

Ramiro Perez of Orlando, Florida, asks what my relationship is like with the Chicago media. The best way to find out, Ramiro, is to go online and look at the different newspapers in the city. I think you will come to the same conclusion that I have: that the press treats me very well.

Ender Elias Chaparro Camargo is a boy from Marcaibo, a town in the Venezuelan state of Zulia, who is in the United States representing the team from the Coquivacoa League in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. As I write I am not sure how our team is doing in the event, but nonetheless I wish Ender and his teammates the best of luck and I hope that they will take full advantage of this experience, which will be an unforgettable one in their lives. Who knows, maybe in the future I will run into many of them in the Major Leagues.

Leonardo Ferrero, also of Maracaibo, wants to know if any of my sons are playing professional baseball at the moment and why Jake Peavy’s debut has taken so long. Leonardo, my middle son, Oney, played in the minor leagues for a couple of years but now he works in Chicago’s front office. My youngest, Ozney, is 17 years old. He is in his last year of high school and dreams about playing professionally. We shall see.

That’s all the answers for today. There are a few questions remaining that I will try to answer in my next column, but I cannot say good-bye before expressing my gratitude for all the messages, comments, opinions and criticisms. All are welcome. Special greetings go out to Raul Avilan, Johars Jimenez, Gladys Perez, Yole Mata and Roman Orive of Caracas, Cesar Reyes and his family from Vargas, Wilmer Aponte of Turmero, Michael Gamez of Chicago, Orlando Rafael Figueroa Reyes of Carora, Rafael Garcia of Margarita, Juan Carlos Marin of Miami, Rafael Paez of Los Teques, Francisco Gar
cia of La Asunción and the many other people who honored me with their attention.

Check back in two weeks, when I hope to be writing with one foot in the postseason!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers