Ozzie Guillen says he never left town
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 17, 2012 8:54PM
Ozzie Guillen said Robin Ventura is doing a tremendous job with the Sox. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:32AM
It wasn’t a White Sox-Cubs game, but with Ozzie Guillen around, it might as well have been.
He had on his famous blue ‘‘Ozzie Mows Wrigley Field’’ T-shirt in the clubhouse, a carry-over from his city-rivalry days. And the conversation with a media throng was still mostly about the Sox.
But Guillen is managing the Miami Marlins, and because it’s their only trip to Chicago, there were plenty of questions for the longtime Sox player and manager to endure.
Guillen, though, set everyone straight at the outset.
‘‘I haven’t left Chicago,’’ he said, reminding all that he still has a permanent home here. ‘‘I was here a few days ago during the All-Star break. I live here. My family is here. This is the city I’ll be in the rest of my life, so you can figure out how it’s always special coming here.’’
When asked about how the Marlins are playing, Guillen said, ‘‘We’re very inconsistent. We’re not playing the way I thought we’d play. We’re still fighting. We have a bunch of great kids.’’
He said you can do more offensively in the American League, but as a manager, he feels more in the game in the National League.
Guillen said he doesn’t think he has changed as a manager.
‘‘The players and the media don’t know me as much,’’ he said, ‘‘and that’s why it’s a little different — and I have to speak in two languages every day. But as a person, I don’t change.’’
Indeed, Guillen remains as frank, as talkative and probably as engaged as ever.
Invariably, he was asked about the Sox and how well they’re playing this year.
‘‘The manager [Robin Ventura] is one of my best friends,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s one reason they’re doing well.
‘‘People say they’re playing better because the manager and coaches changed. No, I think it’s because Robin is doing a tremendous job and the players are responding the way they should.
‘‘I think they gave the job to the right guy. He’s a White Sox man. To me, they went to the right man.’’
Guillen accepts responsibility for last season’s failure, though the struggles of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios and the team’s pitching woes played their part.
He keeps in touch with some of the Sox and his close friend coach Harold Baines. He misses the workers around U.S. Cellular Field but admits he has turned the page and is happy with his new job.
Asked if there might be a statue for him one day at the Cell, he laughs.
‘‘I already have the best statue,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘When you walk in, the first thing you see is me holding up the 2005 World Series trophy. The statue. I already have the statue I want — the ring.’’