Ozzie Guillen says he won’t diss White Sox if he leaves
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 13, 2011 10:56PM
The Tigers’ Victor Martinez follows through on a three-run homer in the sixth inning as the White Sox let another one get away. | Brian Kersey~Getty Images
Updated: November 10, 2011 9:49AM
Always one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen promised he won’t part ways spewing bad things about the franchise he loves.
While Guillen has a year left on his contract, as each day passes toward the end of a disappointing season, the odds of him not coming back appear to increase.
But there’s no chance he’ll hoot on the silver and black. The biggest reason is chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, whom he loves like a father. Guillen said he’s prepared for whatever will happen — like he’d prepare for ‘‘a hurricane’’ — and will accept it, knowing the nature of the baseball business.
‘‘I don’t care either way,’’ Guillen said before Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers blanked the Sox 5-0 on Tuesday night. ‘‘I will appreciate it either way. A lot of people, they don’t know how much I love Jerry. And Jerry loves me. But there is one thing in the middle of both, and that’s a business. And we have to respect that in each other. I can talk to Jerry anytime as a friend.
‘‘If Jerry doesn’t think I’m the right guy to run this ballclub, he won’t have any problem with me at all. He can count on that.’’
Armed with an ‘‘All In’’ slogan and $127 million worth of payroll, the Sox (73-74) were expected to contend with the Tigers (86-62) in the American League Central but found themselves playing meaningless games after the first weekend of September. Tuesday’s loss dropped them 12½ games behind with 15 to play. For several reasons, including Guillen’s stormy relationship with general manager Ken Williams and the team’s performance, this season could be the end of the road for the face of the franchise.
‘‘I’m prepared for the worst thing about it,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘What’s the worst thing about it? Saying you’re not coming back. OK. That’s not the first time he told me I wasn’t coming back. He did that when I was a [Sox] player. We’re friends. We talk about it. It’s fine. Everything in my family is ready for anything. It’s like a hurricane coming and they said it’s in Venezuela right now and it will be in Miami in seven days. We have everything packed up for good or for bad. Hopefully for good. But if not, hey, man, that’s the way it is. This is a business.’’
Guillen can talk all he wants about it being a business, but for him, it’s about being loved. Besides a healthy contract that accompanies it, that’s all he wants.
As for a loving relationship with Williams, it’s not necessary, Guillen said, but they are getting along on a professional level.
‘‘We’re doing it,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t see [Tigers manager] Jim Leyland hugging with [Tigers GM Dave] Dombrowski and being friends and talking. . . . I get along with Kenny. We’re not hugging and kissing each other. That’s a different thing.’’
Guillen was asked to grade his own performance this season. He gave it a ‘‘Z for zero’’ because expectations were not met.
‘‘I let myself down, and I let my players down. I did,’’ Guillen said.
It was more of the same Tuesday, as the Tigers won their 11th straight while improving to 12-5 against the Sox, who had chances against Verlander (23-5) but couldn’t get the big hit, a season-long bugaboo. Gavin Floyd (12-11), the Sox’ winningest pitcher with about half of Verlander’s wins, allowed a three-run homer to Victor Martinez in the sixth.
With every blast like Martinez’s and each missed scoring opportunity, Guillen has felt the pain of fans and vendors alike. He passionately spoke of a beer vendor he sees each night as he leaves the park, knowing the man’s profits suffer and that he won’t make postseason money, either.
‘‘From the bottom of my heart, I say I’m embarrassed to walk by that guy,’’ he said. ‘‘I say, ‘Man, I’m screwing your life right now. We’re killing you. Because I know that if we play good, we have more people in the ballpark, and you will make your money.’ That hurt me.’’