City’s fans quickly turned on Ozzie Guillen, while equally outspoken Mike Ditka is beloved
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2012 8:54PM
Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen talks to the media. Thursday July 7, 2011 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:58AM
I was on a Miami radio show Tuesday when caller Mike dialed in from Hollywood, Fla. A White Sox fan, Mike had a question about Ozzie Guillen and the 2005 World Series team.
Actually, he had a statement dressed in a question’s clothing:
“Did Ozzie really help them do that, or was he almost getting in the way? I’m thinking of the years after that with the team underperforming.’’
In other words, not only was Guillen all that was wrong with the Sox teams of the last several years, but he had little to do with all that was right with the World Series team.
While you’re at it, is there anything else you’d like to take from Guillen, caller Mike? His Manager of the Year award? His playoff shares? No, he probably doesn’t need that car.
Welcome to the world Ozzie now populates, a world in which it’s hard to recognize him, such has been the reduction process. The Sox are in first place, and Guillen is the Marlins’ manager. Out of sight, not out of mind. But why so out of favor here, especially with that rare World Series title in a city with no pressing need for a trophy case?
I only bring up caller Mike because, having listened to a lot of noise from Sox fans in the first half of this season, I believe he speaks for a segment of the fan base. If you pinned me down, I would say that the segment isn’t small.
It is small-minded, though.
I get it: People are sick of Ozzie, the ending between him and the Sox was messy, and it was time for everyone to move on.
But now he should think about returning his championship ring?
Ozzie’s story is a lot like another coach’s story. See if you recognize it.
This man had a successful career as a player, mostly with one team. He became a coach of that same team. He won a championship, ending a title drought for the organization. He clashed with the people in charge, things fell apart and he eventually had an ugly exit from the team and from the city.
That’s Ozzie Guillen, right? But it’s also Mike Ditka, who is beloved in the city.
Ozzie isn’t beloved here anymore, though he doesn’t see it that way.
“I own this town, bro. I don’t care what they say,’’ he said before the Cubs-Marlins game Wednesday at Wrigley. “They love me here, believe it or not.’’
Can someone tell me the difference between Guillen and Ditka? Each is outspoken. Each has had to extract a foot from his mouth on occasion. In some ways, aren’t they the same guy?
OK, one of Guillen’s sons, Oney, made life difficult for him in terms of public perception. The Bears are the most popular team in Chicago, and a Super Bowl-winning coach always will be forgiven his sins here.
I’m not sure Guillen’s ever will be forgiven, not by people with a very selective memory.
“The fans miss me,’’ he insisted. “I live here. I walk in the street every day. Every bar. I didn’t [hear] one guy [Tuesday] say, ‘Thank God you left town.’ Not yet. They might think about it, but they don’t say it.’’
They say it on the radio in Chicago.
Whenever Guillen and 2005 come up, it’s almost always in the context of “yeah, but.’’ Yeah, but many of the Sox had career years that season. Yeah, but look what Guillen did after that.
I’ll add my own: Yeah, but he won a World Series, the only one this city had known in an 88-year period. That should be an argument stopper.
And maybe Guillen had something to do with those players having career years. If he’s responsible for Adam Dunn’s 2011, shouldn’t he get credit for Scott Podsednik’s 2005?
This is what often happens when a new manager comes in. The former manager becomes a caricature of intellectual shortcomings, bad breath and whatever else anybody can think of. So Guillen is attention-seeking, chaotic and divisive. His replacement, Robin Ventura, is mild-mannered, smart and kind to animals. Guillen bad. Ventura good.
Paul Konerko calls that way of thinking “lazy,’’ and he’s right.
The other day, Guillen mentioned his championship ring, implying that no one can take it away from him.
Oh, they’re trying, Ozzie. Man, are they trying.