Why Ozzie Guillen still believes in the White Sox
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 2, 2011 11:02PM
White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen watches the game from the top step of the dugout as the Chicago White Sox take on the New York Yankees in the second game of a four game series Tuesday August 2, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:21AM
Ozzie Guillen might be the last guy at the White Sox’ ballpark who’s still ‘‘all in.’’
Despite uncertainty about his future in two months, despite a sometimes-volatile relationship with general manager Ken Williams, despite a $127 million waste of time in the eyes of many, Guillen sees a team still worth believing in.
And he knows exactly how you will react to that, particularly after another lackluster 6-0 loss Tuesday to the visiting New York Yankees.
‘‘Well, yes, I know, I’m crazy,’’ Guillen said, straight-faced, on Tuesday. ‘‘I don’t blame one White Sox fan or baseball person for thinking what they have to think. They have all the right to do that because we put ourselves in that spot. But there’s no reason, when I’m only four or so games out, 50-some games to go, and a lot of them where we are competing against our division, and I should be saying, ‘Well, we got no chance?’ No. Then I’m a liar.
“Now, will it be easy for us? Hell no, it’s not going to be easy. But is it impossible? No. Can we win it? Yes. Can we lose it? Of course. That’s the problem. Because right now we’re in the middle. One day we play good, one day we play bad. It’s so unpredictable what we’re going to do from day-to-day.’’
I agree with Guillen on one point: He is crazy.
Everything after that, it’s a tough sell that’s only getting tougher.
Guillen is asking Sox fans to take a leap of faith, but they already have a pretty good idea of how far the fall is. The distrust can be seen on a nightly basis at The Cell in the form of a bunch of empty green seats. The Yankees were in town playing the second of a four-game series, and it was a Kansas City Royals gate.
Not only is this Sox team hard to believe in, it’s hard to even like. The players aren’t ‘‘grindy,’’ they don’t come across as blue-collar and they certainly aren’t South Side. The 2011 Sox are poster children for underachievement and heartbreak.
They no longer deserve your dollar or your time.
Plus, it’s ‘‘Shark Week’’ on the Discovery Channel. Seeing Australian surfers eaten by great whites is a lot more interesting than watching Adam Dunn eaten up by another left-handed pitcher.
So what does Guillen know that seemingly everyone around him doesn’t?
‘‘With the material we have here, there is no doubt in my mind that we have a chance,’’ he said, almost defiantly. ‘‘If we continue to play the way we have? No, of course not. Because there are teams out there playing better than we are. But with the people we have here . . . look all season long, and I think there have only been a few games where someone just kicked our ass. We lose by three, two, one, two . . . that means we’re in the game all the time. That’s why it’s hard for me to believe that we’re done.’’
I applaud his loyalty to a team that hasn’t played with the confidence in itself that Guillen has in it, but this is a club destined to die, with 25 guys to blame.
And what’s truly painful is it can’t even sink fast.
Well, until lately. The last two games in the Boston Red Sox series and the first two of the Yankees series showed exactly why. You let Phil Hughes and his 8.24 ERA strut onto the mound and look like Cy Young — or, in the case of the Sox hitters, like Bruce Chen — and it’s life-support time.
‘‘I’m not saying this to try and sell tickets,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘What would it do at this point? C’mon. Sell one more ticket, five more tickets, please. My family isn’t even coming to the games.
‘‘No, I’m saying that because I actually believe, with the material we have here, we have a hot streak. And I’m not even talking about winning 10 straight. How about seven of 10 or eight out of 12? I’m still waiting for that one run.’’
Crazy until the end.