When it comes to managing the White Sox, "I hope I finish my career there," Ozzie Guillen says.
Updated: November 28, 2010 4:52PM
SAN FRANCISCO -- As Ozzie Guillen stepped to the Fox TV platform nestled between the giant Coca-Cola bottle and old-time mitt in left-center field at AT&T Park on Thursday, he enjoyed the same kind of rock-star treatment in the Bay Area that he often gets on the South Side.
''We love you, Ozzie,'' a group of fans yelled.
So it's hard to imagine that the manager who guided the White Sox to a wire-to-wire World Series championship five years ago was nearly shipped off to the Florida Marlins last month.
But Guillen confirmed before Game 2 of the World Series that after his relationship with general manager Ken Williams reached a boiling point late this summer, the Florida Marlins were granted permission by the White Sox to interview Guillen -- their former bench coach -- for their vacant managerial job.
''I never talked to the Marlins. I never did,'' Guillen told the Sun-Times. ''I hear it every day. I live in Miami. One thing I know, they had permission to talk to me. But in the meanwhile, I'm happy to be with the White Sox. I wanted to be with the White Sox in 2011. I HOPE I'm going to be with the White Sox for more than that.
''My goal is not to just manage the White Sox one year. I hope I finish my career there. I'm open to finishing my career there. It's up to them [as to] what they do.''
According to major-league sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was intent on making Guillen his next manager. Talks, sources say, progressed to the point that there was discussion of executing a trade that would send Guillen, who has a year left on his contract, to the Marlins for 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton, who hit 22 home runs and knocked in 59 runs in just 100 games as a rookie this season.
After Guillen met with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf late in the season and agreed to return to the Sox in 2011 -- but not getting a desired extension -- the Marlins talks died, sources say.
Question still is there
Asked Thursday during a text exchange about the Marlins' interest, general manager Ken Williams wrote: ''Ozzie is the manager of the White Sox next year and I hope the next 10 years after. How many times do I have to [bleeping] say it- ''
Ten years might be a stretch, considering the strained relationship between manager and GM that surfaced during a disappointing 2010 season. Even Reinsdorf admitted last month that he told Guillen and Williams: ''You guys can't have this kind of bull[bleep]. You have to work together.''
Less than a month into the offseason, the question remains: Can Guillen and Williams work together-
''We're better,'' said Guillen, who is working the World Series as an analyst for Fox. ''We never had a problem with the team. We can talk about the team. Personal problem- Of course. It's a family issue. He was right. I was right. It's something we have tried to put behind us. The last 10 days of the season, everything went back to normal, thank God. But while there was all of that turbulence, while all that stuff was happening, we still talked about the ballclub. That's our job. We are professionals. We know what to do for the White Sox. But in the meanwhile, personal-wise, it is doing a lot better.
''Family-wise, I don't think it will go back to normal, when you have your kids involved or your wife involved. It's not easy. But we are still friends. We still hang around the way it should be, working with the team, working with baseball, and we'll see what happens.''
Williams clearly is bothered this remains an issue and has continued to downplay the yearlong feud -- despite Reinsdorf speaking out publicly about the rift.
''You guys created those summer issues, not us,'' Williams said via text. ''While you guys were writing we couldn't work together, we were doing the salsa at his benefit. As you ask this question, he and I are planning on hanging out this winter in Chicago since we both will be here the majority of the time. Again, how many times do we have to say it- We're good!''
'We respect each other'
That should come as a relief to White Sox fans, who watched a sorry 2010 season dissolve into a soap opera.
Guillen, who took a beating over the team's decision not to re-sign designated hitter Jim Thome, says he will step back from personnel decisions.
Both men were asked if all of this nonsense will continue to hang over the Sox.
Guillen said: ''I hope not. I hope everything will be behind us.
''We respect each other. We love/hate each other. Through the process, we never stopped talking about the ballclub. We never will because we get paid to do that. Family, when your child is involved and your wife is involved, it is going to be tough. But in my part, I will do the best. And I know my family will, too.''
Said Williams: ''I don't have time or patience to do nonsense. I have tried to maintain my class and dignity throughout what was a tough and difficult year and will continue to be positive and supportive, as difficult as that sometimes can be. Write what you wish, but this is the spirit of my mind-set.''
For his part, Guillen says he was counting the minutes for the 2010 season to end.
''I couldn't wait until the last out of the season,'' he said. ''It was a big relief. That is the first time in my life, right after the last out was made, two days later, I was in Spain. I wanted to relax with my family, I wanted to relax with my wife and think about what we want for the future, what we think we should do. But I [usually] wait three, four days in Chicago, but I couldn't wait to leave and get my time off and re-think what we want to do.''
CHRIS DE LUCA
AT THE WORLD SERIES