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Well, real Spring Training has started and the
games are underway finally! Took some
more time to look over all the questions you have been submitting and picked
some out to answer. Make sure you check
out the album I posted on my site from the first week of camp.
On to your questions …
Q: I loved the picture in the (Chicago) Sun-Times the other week of you as “The OzFather.” What do you think of that
nickname? Also, what is your favorite mafia movie? Go Sox! — Chris M. (Villa
think that is a great nickname and I love that movie (“The Godfather”). But “Casino” is by far my favorite movie
because of Sharon Stone. Wow!
Q: How would you compare yourself (when you were
playing baseball) with Pete Rose as a ballplayer? — Barb R. (Goodyear, Ariz.)
were both hard-nosed players, and we played the game with a lot of heart and
balls. His hustle paid off a little more
than mine did, though.
Q: I’m excited about this upcoming year for a
lot of reasons, but I think I’m most excited about seeing John Danks take the next
step and become this team’s ace. What do you see as his ceiling? Cy Young one
day, Top 10 AL pitcher? I would be interested in knowing. Thanks, Ozzie, and
good luck this year. It’s been too long since 2005. — Eddie M. (Chicago)
don’t think Danks is in the Top 10 yet, but he has the potential to win the Cy
Young one day. He has the stuff and the
drive to make it.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, I hear a lot of people in the
organization say that Frank Thomas is the greatest hitter in White Sox history. I would argue. I would say “Shoeless” Joe Jackson without a doubt. What is your
take? — Keith W. (Bradenton, Fla.)
never saw “Shoeless” Joe play. Did you? Frank is the best hitter I have ever seen, with all due respect to Tony
Gwynn and Wade Boggs.
Q: I’m a big Carlton Fisk fan. How would he be
as a pitching coach or manager? (Not for the White Sox, of course, since they are
set at these positions for the next 20 years — haha) — Will O. (Saunemin, Ill.)
Never. Pudge doesn’t have the patience or the passion to deal with
baseball now. He is a great man and a
great baseball man, but I don’t see him as a coach.
Q: Hi, Ozzie. Lucky you, having a English
bulldog — they are great dogs! I have had two and they are exceptional. One day
I’ll have another. What is your dog’s name and how old? You should post a
picture of it on your site. Have a good Spring Training. — Steve L. (Downers
A: My English Bulldog’s name is “DH.” He is 7
years old and named after Harold Baines.
Q: Hey, Ozzie, do you follow soccer? And if so,
who is your favorite team? — Jared D. (Austin, Texas)
A: Yes, Real Madrid. I don’t like Barcelona because Gerard Pique
is with Shakira (haha).
Q: What’s up, Ozzie? I was just wondering, who
is the best prankster on the team? Who is the easiest person to prank? Thanks! I love the White Sox! — Danielle G. (Sycamore, Ill.)
Danielle. Ramon Castro is the best prankster on the team, and easiest to prank
is by far third-base coach Jeff Cox. Poor guy!
Q: Hi, Ozzie — the pride of Venezuela and the Tiburones. … Ozzie, is there a place to eat Venezuelan food in Chicago? Have you seen Greivis Vasquez play, and do you know him personally? Greetings from Guatemala. — Maxwell R. (Caracas, Venezuela)
A: I know there’s an Aripo’s, which is supposedly good. Regarding Greivis, I do know him and he’s a super nice guy. I’m very proud of him.
Thank you for all the support you have shown for the website. I hope everyone continues to enjoy!
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.
How’s everyone liking the new Web site?? So, I went on and started to check all the questions you have been asking on the “Ask Ozzie!” portion of the site, and I couldn’t believe it… there were hundreds of questions already! Thank you all for your interest in the website and sending in your questions. I will try to read them all and will respond to as many as I can.
Here is my first shot…
Q: Hello, Ozzie. I was just wondering… how is Paul Konerko signing a new contract with the team a big plus for the upcoming year? I used to live in Chicago but moved to Texas, and I still am a BIIIIG FAN! Paulie is my fave. — Matthew M.
A: I think P.K. wanted to come back to Chicago, and obviously the front office wanted him back. They worked hard and made it happen, and I am very happy they did. It would have been very hard to replace someone like P.K.
Q: I remember being a kid and watching baseball when you were playing, and it didn’t seem as if there were as many power pitchers as there is now. What do you think the difference is? — Thomas A.
A: I think part of it is that players work harder these days, but maybe the bigger difference is nowadays scouts look for more power arms.
Q: Hi, Ozzie. I admire your enthusiasm for the game. You are good for baseball. I’m a life-long Twins fan. Would you say you and Gardy [Ron Gardenhire] are friends, or just mutual combatants with mutual respect? Let’s have another great 2011 season! — Rich S.
A: I’m not friends with Gardy because we don’t hang out outside of the field, but I have a ton of respect for him as a manager and competitor. Not many people gave him the credit he deserves; he is one of the best in the game.
Q: First off, I want to thank you for being a breath of fresh air in the city of Chicago. My question is do you think Mark Buehrle is headed for Cooperstown? And is this team gearing up to be better than the 2005 White Sox? Thanks. — Scott B.
A: Thank you. I don’t know what type of ballclub we are going to have, all I know is we have talent. But comparing any team to the ’05 team is unfair because that team won the whole thing. As for Mark, he has easily been one of my favorite players I have ever managed, but I don’t think he has a chance at Cooperstown. I wish he could get in, but right now, I doubt it.
Q: Formula One has their first Venezuelan driver this year, Pastor Rafael Maldonado. Do you follow this at all? Will you follow him? Thanks, Ozzie. — Larry C.
A: No, I don’t follow Formula One, but I am proud of him like all Venezuelans should be. I do follow Venezuelan golfer Jhonattan Vegas, though, because I do love gold and I’m very proud of him as well.
Q: Why don’t you follow ANYBODY in your Twitter account? — Carlos S.
A: You know I’m not very good with computers, and I’m always getting new phones. I use Twitter to talk to fans, not follow people.
Q: What part of Spring Training do you most look forward to? — Michael E.
A: First of all, I think Spring Training is too long. I always look forward to the games starting and seeing the new and old players get after it.
Q: What do you think was the biggest reason the pitching staff got off to such a poor start last season, and how do you avoid that again this season? — Bob K.
A: I wish I had the answer to that one, but I really don’t. Most important thing to do is stay healthy and, unfortunately, I have no control over that. I pitch them and hope they stay healthy. It’s not about how you start, either; it’s about how you finish.
Q: Hey, if the American League vanished and you could take over as manager of any National League team in 2011, which team would you pick and why? — Matthew K.
A: Hahaha… Wow. You’re trying to get me in trouble, huh? You know I can’t answer a question like that. I’m the manager of the Chicago White Sox and very proud to be.
Q: What is your one memory that stands out above everything in your managerial career? — Benjamin S.
A: Wow, that’s a hard question. (haha) Winning the ring, of course — that’s what this game is all about!
What’s up, 2011?? The holidays are over; it was a lot of fun for me with a lot of sun! I always enjoy being here in Venezuela, but now that the vacations are over, it’s time focus. Time to focus and start looking ahead to SoxFest and, of course, Spring Training. The month of January is always fun for me because we have a lot of birthdays in my family that we get to celebrate. Other than that, I have so much planned, which is great because I would always rather be out doing things than sitting at home. My guys over at Triple Crown have been working hard and, boy, do we have some awesome things planned for this year! I’m sure some of you guys have noticed I am pretty hyper, but I enjoy seeing all the fans and look forward to being in Chicago very soon. Baseball-wise, I can’t wait for this season to start because a lot of changes have been made and a lot of teams are going to make it exciting.
Here are a couple of pics from my time in Venezuela:
On that note, I was SHOCKED that my boy Robbie Alomar is a Hall of Famer (hahaha). In my opinion, he was the best player in my era. This guy could beat you in every way possible and was probably the smartest player ever to wear a uniform around me. Congrats to him and his family. And then there’s Bert Blyleven. … It’s about time!!! Mr. Curveball was a great pitcher and one of the best guys on and off the field. I love him because he has so much fun being around the game. Congrats to him and his family, too!
On to more of your questions:
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of Old Comiskey Park?
A: My favorite memories of Old Comiskey would have to be my first game, of course, and the last couple of days of that park. Those are the memories that stick out to me as being special. Playing on the same field as Luke Appling, Chico Carrasquel, Luis Apparicio and Nellie Fox, for me, was a thrill. That field had the BEST plying surface in the game. Thanks, “Sodfather,” Mr. Roger Bossard, for making me a lot of money (haha).
Q: How do you like sharing a Spring Training facility with the Dodgers?
A: To me, it was a great experience and still is to be with such a great organization. I’m looking forward to seeing and competing against Donny (Don Mattingly), one of my favorite players coming up. And, of course, now I get to see my boy Uribiiiiiittttoooo (Juan Uribe) all spring long.
Q: Do you feel any more pressure going into this year to win than previous years?
A: I never feel any pressure. I approach the game the same way whether we are in first or last place. I know what my coaching staff and I can do, so I trust them. Thanks to the front office for putting a good ballclub on the field once again. Pressure is when you have seven kids and only make $2 a day like a lot of people do around the world. That’s real pressure.
Q: Now that the holidays are over, what will you do to keep yourself busy from now until Spring Training?
A: I will play some golf in Miami and of course get on my boat. I will go to SoxFest like I do every year since it started. I have never missed a single one. Maybe another record; who else can say that?? … Maybe Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Ed Farmer (hahaha).
I would ask all of you to stay tuned because now on, in every blog I will include something about me that you don’t know. Also, make sure you pay attention to me on Facebook and Twitter because I will be having some contest to give away some free stuff coming up soon. So be on the lookout for that!
‘Til next time … and remember, if you want your dreams to come true, just wake up!!!
Before I answer a few more of your questions, I just want to say I read a lot of your comments here on my Blog, my Facebook page and my Twitter account, and I want to clear up some confusion we might have … I have NO say or make any decisions as to what offseason moves my team should make. Sometimes they ask for my suggestions and I give them, but for the most part, I don’t deal with that stuff. I just manage the team.
Q: Do you think Chris Sale has a chance to start in 2011?
A: I think Sale does have a good chance to start, he has done it before when he was in college. But I think he would be great out of our bullpen.
Q: Ozzie, can I borrow $10,000?
A: I would give you $10,000 if it was for a good cause.
Q: What are some good, easy Venezuelan recipes I can make?
A: Cachapas, I believe, are very Venezuelan because in all other countries they instead make pabellon and arepas. So, I believe cachapas are only in my country, and I really like them a lot. Not sure how you cook them, but it should be easy — lots of corn and cheese, and it comes out looking similar to a pancake.
Q: Where would you recommend visiting in Spain if we only had a week?
A: I was just in Spain. If you go there, you should visit Madrid because of the energy, food and great sightseeing. And if you like bullfighting, you will go to Seville like I did.
Q: Ozzie, my friend, I’d like to know if by any chance you’re helping our beloved Tiburones [de La Guaira, a Venezuelan pro baseball team] improve our performance this year. We could really use your help in these troubled times.
A: I don’t help the Tiburones. I’m their No. 1 fan, and I watch every game I can. But I don’t help. I’m good friends with President Francisco Hernandez and Vice President Antonio Herrera. I wish them the best of luck.
Q: In your opinion, who is the best player in the game, and who is the young player you think has the brightest future?
A: The best players we have in our game right now are Josh Hamilton and Robinson Cano, because they do it all. The ones I see with the brightest future are Chris Sale of the White Sox and Austin Jackson of the Tigers, because they have what it takes to triumph in the Major Leagues.
Before I go, I wanted to give a shoutout to my people in Venezuela, especially where I was born in Ocumare Del Tuy, where I played baseball growing up in Los Teques, and to those in Guarenas and Guatire, where I lived many years and where I met my wife, Ibis. And a shoutout to everyone else reading. Keep asking.
‘Til next time …
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.
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.
ARLINGTON — I promised to answer as many questions as possible. We’ve got some good ones on here already. Keep them coming!!