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Ozzie Guillen splits with White Sox; expected to go to Marlins

OZZIE’S HIGHS AND LOWS

THE Highs

1. Delivering the Sox their first World Series in 88 years in 2005, just his second year on the job.

2. Winning the 2008 division title (left) in a play-in game against the Twins, becoming the first Sox manager to lead the team to two division/league titles.

3. The sound bites. Imitated, never duplicated.

THE LOWS

1. The 2011 season will go on his resume – fair or unfair – as one of the more underachieving of his tenure.

2. Suspended and fined by MLB for using a gay slur against former Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.

3. The feud with general manager Ken Williams. Guillen all but forced the hand of Jerry Reinsdorf to choose, and the chairman obviously chose Williams in the end.

Morrissey: Guillen asks out so he can 'buy my [bleeping] boat
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Updated: January 8, 2012 1:15AM



He came in loud, brash and cocky before the 2004 ­season. It was only fitting that Ozzie Guillen went out the same way.

After the 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, the White Sox announced that they had agreed to release the manager from his 2012 contract but would receive compensation should Guillen accept a managerial position with another major-league team.

He has, and they will.

The Florida Marlins and Sox on Wednesday are expected to announce that ­Guillen was traded to South Beach, with Guillen and his family scheduled to leave for Miami Tuesday morning on the private jet of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

“If they want me?’’ Guillen said of the Marlins job. “They should. F--- it, I’m bad. I’m good at what I do.’’

And just like that, welcome back to irrelevancy, South Side.

So how did it get to this point? How did a relationship between general manager Ken Williams and Guillen that the two used to describe as “brotherly’’ become so volatile that besides asking board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for an extension this week, Guillen also asked that Williams not be back?

Why did Williams attempt to fire Guillen twice in the last two years, as well as start going behind his back at the end of August, 2010, in looking for a replacement?

It started with one of the seven deadly sins — envy will get you every time.

After the 2005 World Series, Guillen was the golden boy of baseball, the face of the Sox. He’d tell you that, just ask him. He was ­Guillen on volume 10, just what Reinsdorf was hoping for when he talked Williams into even interviewing him before the 2004 season.

Williams wanted Cito Gaston. Quiet, calm, controllable. The perfect Kenny puppet.

Once Guillen was hired, he made the Sox winners, ending a World ­Series drought of 88 years in his second season. Even more important, he closed the gap on Chicago being “Cubstown.’’

His news conferences were car accidents waiting to happen, with media from opposing teams making sure to catch a glimpse of them.

Williams’ envy snowballed, and heading into SoxFest 2010, he inexplicably threw Guillen under the bus by putting the Jim Thome decision on the manager’s shoulders, despite the staff deciding hours earlier that Thome wasn’t in the plans. There were things going on behind the scenes, as well that soured the relationship, but by spring training, family got involved. Once family gets involved, it seldom ends well.

For Reinsdorf’s sake, Guillen and Williams said all the right things about their relationship the last few months, despite seldom talking since the All-Star Game.

That charade continued on ­Monday night.

“I wish I had a dollar for every time that I had that thought — why did it have to come to this? But I don’t have answers,’’ Williams said, doing his best “Hollywood’’ upset act. “It’s tough to pinpoint exactly where we got off track. Winning cures a lot of that. We are all very competitive around here, and ­sometimes with that competitive drive, frustration comes with it.’’

Guillen would only say, “We didn’t have the best relationship the last couple years, but we never put it between our job and what we had to do, we never did. I don’t have anything against Kenny, maybe my … ah why?’’

Privately, Guillen was very upset that Williams tried firing him last season, and when the GM was vetoed by Reinsdorf, then started exploring a scenario in which he would be traded to Florida. Reinsdorf put out the flames this offseason, picking up Guillen’s 2012 option, but the harmony didn’t last long, with the two having another blowup in June, and then Guillen finding out Williams was again working behind his back to find a replacement.

Williams even admitted to that Monday night when asked about a possible replacement.

“I have definite answers on that,’’ Williams said. “Because of the warnings, we’ve had ample time to dwindle a list down to a few select candidates and we think we can act swiftly. That accompanies a plan of attack to the 2012, ’13, ’14 season, but I don’t want to get to far into that because I think it takes away from Ozzie on this day and what he means to White Sox fans and baseball fans. I need to respect that. He needs to be the story [on Monday].’’

Insert finger and vomit here.

Those candidates are rumored to Buddy Bell, Class AAA ­Charlotte manager Joe McEwing or Sandy Alomar Jr. Forget the Tony La Russa talk, since one source already has said he wasn’t interested in managing with ­Williams as GM.

As for the coaching staff, only Don Cooper is expected back as of now, with a source saying that a deal was already done for the pitching coach. Joey Cora will likely join Guillen on the 2012 staff, as might Omar Vizquel.

The rest? Who knows?

What is known is an organization took a huge hit, and Williams has nowhere to hide, no one to hide behind.

“Why did it have to come to this?’’ as Williams asked? His ­answer was right in the mirror.



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