Oney Guillen’s raceball game vs. White Sox is just stupid
RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org June 7, 2011 11:34PM
White Sox general manager Ken Williams (right) and manager Ozzie Guillen (middle) have another unnecessary controversy on their hands thanks to Oney Guillen’s (left) Twitter account.
Updated: September 15, 2011 12:28AM
If there’s a Chicago baseball radar, the White Sox usually are able to glide beneath it.
Excitement? A bit.
Smooth sailing? Mostly.
Until a Guillen family member pipes up, which, come to think about it, is just about always.
Things had been calm since the last Ozzie seizure and rant about nobody caring about managers, about their unrequited passion for the game, about how they come back in wheelchairs years later and people pee on their statues, etc. There was a broken coffee maker up there in Toronto, plus chair debris.
That was nine days ago.
Now we have opinionated, profoundly prolific, quasi-literate Oney Guillen, the manager’s son, and no longer a member of the Sox in any form, using his best pal, Twitter, to lob a grenade into the peaceful glen.
‘‘Shocker white sox pick another good athlete black kid,’’ Oney tweeted after the Sox took 20-year-old Keenyn Walker with their first pick in the 2011 amateur draft. ‘‘How about picking a good baseball player.’’
Well, how sweet.
Yup, Walker is black. He is also athletic.
The Sox even said so on their official post: ‘‘Athletic Walker Selected by White Sox at No. 47.’’
But nobody had ever played the race card in the Sox’ baseball dealings until Oney felt compelled to.
‘‘People relax my comment has nothing to do with color just stating the obvious.’’
Garbage. If it had nothing to do with color, then why use the word black? That’s a color, Oney, in case you didn’t know.
Seems like a solid pick
But let’s think about Walker for a moment.
He’s a 6-3, 190-pound outfielder from Central Arizona Junior College who hit .402 last season with 11 doubles, eight triples and four home runs. Sure, it’s only junior college, but .402 is almost Ted Williams. Moreover, Walker stole 65 bases in 68 attempts in 63 games.
Fast and athletic. Why, the kid snagged 11 interceptions as a senior cornerback in high school.
It was hard to believe that there was any problem with the Sox on this gloriously hot baseball evening at the Cell, with the postgame fireworks signaling the 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners and 2010 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Felix Hernandez.
And even if Alex Rios and Adam Dunn were benched because their slumps are becoming toxic, rebuilt no-name pitcher Phil Humber (5-3) looked like an ace for the Sox, giving up only one run and lowering his ERA to 2.87.
Twenty-one thousand fans were happy. I ate six hot dogs and enjoyed the show. (Yes, I’m embarrassed.)
But, see, here’s the deal:
The Sox are a colorful amalgam of front-office personalities and, yes, skin tone. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is white, general manager Ken Williams is black and manager Ozzie Guillen is Hispanic.
It’s lovely to see the team work with none of those cultural or racial qualities meaning anything — with only winning as the goal. And that’s how it always has seemed.
But Oney, who was with the Sox for a number of years in various roles, including being drafted in the 36th round of the 2007 draft, thinks only about his family.
A jab at Williams
Taking a black draft pick, an athlete — as if that were some kind of negative quality — is a direct rip at Williams, who drafted his own son, Ken Williams Jr., in the sixth round of the 2008 draft and gave him a $150,000 bonus.
And now Ozney Guillen — Ozzie’s youngest son — a junior-college player who was chosen in the 22nd round by the Sox last year but returned to college because that was such a low spot, was not drafted at all this year.
Oney didn’t like that. And, well, he’s gonna tweet it.
That the elder Ken Williams and Ozzie Sr. create friction when placed together is as well known as any axiom.
And Oney knows that.
When he rips on the team, he’s ripping for Pops. That’s how it is, regardless if Ozzie says that 25-year-old Oney is his own man.
It is one of the joys of modern compromise and apology that Williams and Guillen have successfully worked together for so many years.
Ozzie is so colorful that we will rue the day he’s replaced by a necessarily blander field general.
About Dunn and his batting woes and whether they were physically or mentally induced, Guillen responded, ‘‘He’s 7-2, 700 pounds. He’s got a brain bigger than my body.’’
Where else ya gonna get that, folks?
But colorful won’t matter if color itself ever becomes a real problem with the Sox.
‘‘Yeah, I read it,’’ said Doug Laumann, the Sox’ director of amateur scouting, when I asked him about Oney’s tweets. He looked non-plused, perhaps disgusted. ‘‘What do you say? What do you do — draft an unathletic guy who can’t play?’’
No, this is nonsense. Not free expression, just stupidity.
Why does a Guillen continue to make a mess like this? Ozzie needs to step in, to stop it.
I have children. Many of us adults do. There’s a time when you have to say to any of them if you feel they are misbehaving — even if they are self-supporting adults: ‘‘If you care about me and the family, if you love us, shut up!’’
Ozzie, that time is here.