It doesn’t matter if the White Sox are in first place, last place or somewhere in between. With the regularity and picturesque violence of Old Faithful, Ozzie’s gonna blow. Noses will be bent out of joint, feelings will be hurt, Puritans will hiss and stamp their feet.
And the rest of us will scoot straight to YouTube to listen to it and then gleefully e-mail it to our friends.
I was going to remind Chicago how terribly lucky it is to have a man like Ozzie Guillen managing one of its baseball teams. But then I realized that Chicago also has Lou Piniella managing the Cubs. Piniella isn’t as outrageous as Guillen, but he also doesn’t fit in any of the standard envelopes. He’s irascible, frequently irreverent, and even at his relatively advanced age still subject to towering rages that would be the envy of Yosemite Sam.
Yes, the oxymoronically named Sweet Lou has also worked in New York, Cincinnati, Seattle and Tampa, but it says something that he finally landed in Chicago and with the Cubs.
So it seems that instead of Chicago being lucky to have two such entertaining managers, Piniella and Guillen are lucky to have Chicago, a city with an attitude — and a sense of humor about it. Nowhere else could both of these one-of-kind men find continuous employment.
Guillen’s most recent broadside is classic. Wrigley Field, he said, makes him want to “puke.”
Said by anyone else, this would be heresy. On the subject of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, all baseball fans and baseball people are required to be true believers who accept the dogma that these two ballparks are the greatest and most perfect edifices ever created for the playing of their favorite game.
To suggest that either one or both of them are cramped and crappy and uncomfortable antiques that would most benefit everyone by collapsing under the weight of the adoration heaped upon them is like a creationist suggesting that maybe Darwin had it right. It’s a thought that cannot even be considered.
Nam Y Huh / AP
Lou Piniella has that old-school fire that makes you want to root for him.
It starts with parents, moves on to teachers, is refined by friends and acquaintances, and finally fixed firmly by the people who pay us. Say one thing and get a raise and a promotion. Say another and go join the unemployment line. It’s a crude method, but it works.
Ozzie somehow managed to either avoid all of that or ignore it. He hates Wrigley Field. Hates its pillars and dank and cramped clubhouses. Hates the accepted truth that it is one of the two cathedrals of baseball. Hates the cracked concrete and corroding pillars and cramped seats and narrow concourses. Hates it all so much it makes him want to puke.
Ain’t it great? Ain’t it grand? Ain’t it just what somebody should have had the marbles to say years ago?
I mean, even if you don’t believe it, it’s still something that somebody should say, just to get everyone to think about things we think we know to be true. And there’s nobody that can say it but Ozzie Guillen.
And when you think about Wrigley, Ozzie has a point. The venerable stadium’s charm has more to do with the ivy Bill Veeck planted on the outfield walls and the quaint neighborhood in which it resides than with the stadium itself. It’s an old-fashioned two-tiered stadium with steel posts holding up the second tier and creating obstructed-view seats.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Now, Ozzie isn’t always as cogent as he is on Wrigley. Some of his best rants have been in response to criticism from fans and media. Hey, he keeps grousing. He won a title in 2005. Isn’t that enough?
Um, no, Ozzie, it isn’t. Just ask your buddy Piniella, who used to work for George “What Have You Done For Me This Minute” Steinbrenner. He’d tell you you’re supposed to win every year or find somewhere else to work with lower standards.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.