12 Ozzie and the cult of personality…

I’m back in Chicago for a few days and I see a column in the Chicago Tribune that leads with:

“Is Ozzie Guillen trying to get himself fired?”

Columnist Phil Rogers went on to talk about the Sox manager’s tirade the other night:

‘At one point during his Wednesday night tirade, Guillen said his hitters were “killing me … killing my family … killing my coaching staff … killing the White Sox fan … [killing] the owner … [killing] everyone.” He said he feels like a cheerleader rooting for a last-place football team.’

It got me thinking about Ozzie and his style. He pulls no punches, he gets in trouble with his mouth pretty regularly and can be refreshingly honest…maybe to a fault. It wasn’t a fault when he was leading his team to a World Series title. His style was considered one of the reasons they were winning. The great line about winning is…’it’s a great deodorant’. It covers up all your faults.  Now the Sox aren’t winning, they’re last in the AL Central. How long does it take for your personality to be used against you? Will the Sox fans and more importantly, Sox management, back Guillen and keep him? Should they? Isn’t he the same manager that took them to a World Series?

Staying in Chicago, remember Dennis Rodman with the Bulls? His act never got stale because all the Bulls did was win when Dennis was on the team. He never had the chance to wear out his welcome by losing.

If you liked Ozzie Guillen’s style when they were winning, you can’t be a hypocrate and say you don’t like it now. You can call for his firing because they are losing, that’s the business of sport, but don’t say he’s a boor. He’s the same person.

-Dan

7 Responses

  1. I agree that anyone who celebrated the ChiSox’s 2005 Series win who now says that Ozzie should cool it is being hypocritical. I don’t think that’s what Rogers is saying: it seems to me the gist of his column is that when Ozzie’s ripping on his players through the media, he’s going about it the wrong way, that Ozzie’s beef is with GM Ken Williams.

    And he’s right, no manager should use the media to rip on players. What happens in the clubhouse is one thing, but going on about a sub-par hitter is killing the franchise is way off base.

    The real problem in Chicago is that they’re not a good team. No matter how good a manager Ozzie is, no manager is going to make the playoffs with a team that’s hitting a combined .223. But if talent is the issue, then the blame falls with Williams.

    Ozzie is a smart guy, too smart to mistake who is to blame for the lack of success. I think he knows all to well that Williams’ mistakes are the reason the ChiSox are a bad team. But I think Rogers is wrong: I think Ozzie is trying to KEEP his job. He’s doing all he can to say, “look, I give and I give and I give; it’s not my fault we’re losing.” And by not attacking Williams, he’s not biting the hand that feeds him.

    At least, that’s how I see it.

    Cheers,

    Ken.

  2. I don’t think Ozzie’s outbursts ought to hurt him with fans when they’re focused on his team and how bad it feels to lose.

    Can you imagine what Ozzie would have said if he’d been approached the way Terry Francona was during the Yankees game?

    My favorite Ozzie moment is from this year in Tampa Bay. Papa John’s was running a promotion that gave away free pizzas if the Devil Rays’ pitchers struck out 10 batters in the game. In the 4 games the teams played The White Sox struck out 15 , 11, 10 and 13 times.

    http://mikecobb.theledger.com/default.asp?item=638455

    By game 4 of the series, Ozzie was waving a pizza box from within the dugout to mark the White Sox’ 10th strikeout.

    By the way, the White Sox won all 4 games in the series.

    Erik

  3. Ozzie is the same person he was in 2005. I don’t think that anyone should call for his firing because of his mouth. He has said what is on his mind since he was hired. It’s not like he just started shooting off his mouth recently, he has done it all along. I agree that if he is to be fired, it should be due to the losses, not the fact that Ozzie lacks the voice in your head that tells you not to say certain things out loud.

    At any rate, what do I care. GO CUBBIES!!!

  4. I’ve been following the Ozzie saga off and on via ESPN since I live in the Boston area and don’t get to follow it as closely.

    The thing I’ve noticed about a lot of good managers is that their biggest “Fault” is often the reason that front offices bring in that respective manager. i.e. Pinella and his Tirades, Jimmy Williams and his Old-school approach, and Ozzie with his Pull no punches attitude.

    Excellent perspective on it Dan and loving the new blog.

  5. Dan, i was never a fan of Ozzie’s in 2005, still not a fan… everyone says he’s a player’s manager, but the way he blasts them in the media… that’s like calling Bill Parcells a players coach.. lets ask TO about that.. then again .. let’s not!

  6. Hi Dan,

    Since they put up with him while they were winning, they shouldn’t be willing to fire him over his loose lips. They should consider replacing him due to his inability to produce the same results as in 05. As we all know, winning does cure a lot of blues, but personally, I have busted him in the chops several times. I am not a four legged animal, and will not be treated as such. I would not consider hiring a man with this mentality, but hey, that’s just me and I haven’t mastered walking on water.

  7. The questions with Ozzie are these: do players at some point or another tune out their manager? At what point does Ozzie’s rants, raves, swears, screams, and hyperbole become white noise? What responsibilities do the players take for their performance? Is it fair to blame Ozzie for the way Uribe is hitting or Contreras is pitching? Is it fair to blame Ozzie for a dropped fly ball or a botched double play? As a life-long White Sox fan, here is my bottom line: He helped win a World Series in just his second year, so if not Ozzie, then who? Name another another manager (who is available) that Sox players would respond to?

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