Unintended comment stirs latest flap
Guillen's discussion about Sosa taken out of context
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen can't win for talking.
Following Tuesday night's 8-1 loss to the Rangers, the White Sox manager was asked about Sammy Sosa's three-run home run off Mike MacDougal that put the contest out of reach in the eighth inning. Sosa's blast came after an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, which Guillen said he would do again and again during the final two games of this three-game series.
Guillen then made one more unwittingly fateful comment behind the microphone before closing out his postgame press conference.
"Sammy, be ready because you are going to get hit," Guillen said as he stood up and headed out of U.S. Cellular Field's Conference and Learning Center.
That particular clip was played over and over again on the late newscasts in Chicago, making Guillen look as if he had some sort of vendetta against Sosa for his post-home run celebration. But nothing could be further from the truth, as Guillen explained to Sosa when he called him on Wednesday afternoon and then made clear to the media during his pregame chat.
"If people boo me like that and I hit a home run, I might run the bases backwards," said Guillen of Sosa, during his 12-minute session late Wednesday afternoon. "He thought he did something wrong that I don't like. I don't have anything against Sammy and I never will.
"When I have something against anyone, I won't say it. I do it and then I say it. People twist it the wrong way."
The twisting was played up on Chicago sports radio Wednesday, further drawing Guillen's ire. Guillen readily admitted during his animated explanation that he has earned some of the shots thrown his way over the years, but Guillen also pointed out how there was a simple way to figure out the intent of his comments Wednesday without assaulting his character.
Play the rest of his comments from the final bit of tape. After Guillen made the statement about hitting Sosa, he quickly corrected his tone to reflect the designated hitter's offensive focus.
"You got to hit," said Guillen as he walked up the stairs, his comments not completely captured by the microphones. "Teixeira isn't going to get me. He's not going to win games."
Wednesday's controversy could be classified as much to do about nothing, especially since Guillen certainly never intended to hit Sosa after making a point of saying he was going to pitch to him over another hitter. But it wasn't nothing in Guillen's mind.
The always media-friendly Guillen, ranking as one of the best quotes in Chicago sports history, hinted Wednesday that he might change his accommodating approach after the Sosa misunderstanding.
"I learn a lot," said Guillen of the Sosa incident. "You know what's the funny thing about it? Sometimes I get here and I want to try to be good with you guys and I want to be nice with you guys, [but] it gets to the point where I just want to be a [jerk]. Everything, I get punched and punched, one after another. It's not worth it.
"It's my fault to treat you guys how I treat you guys. It's my fault that every question you ask, I'm available to answer. Sometimes I answer it my way. Sometimes people don't understand my English because I grow up in another country and my English is real thick and not good. People take advantage of that and I hate it.
"Are you guys going to break me down?" Guillen added. "No, but it gets to the point ... I want to see some people think about what I do in the game and not do in the game, not what I do after the game."
Sosa was among the many who completely understood the intent of Guillen's commentary.
"That was just misinterpreted," Sosa said. "He didn't mean it that way. There's nothing to worry about. I talked to him already."
White Sox general manager Ken Williams pleaded ignorance in regard to the latest mini-controversy involving his manager until popping his head into the clubhouse Wednesday. When apprised of the basics of the matter, Williams brushed it aside and focused on the matter at hand of evening the series with Texas.
As for the possibility of Guillen changing his overall entertaining and outgoing approach, Williams seemed perfectly satisfied with the style of manager he had in place.
"You don't let Ozzie be Ozzie. Ozzie is going to be Ozzie," Williams said. "For my money, I wouldn't trade him for any manager in the league. It's certainly not boring around here."
Before closing talk on the Sosa topic, Guillen once again lent his support to the object of jeers from Chicago fans. He talked about Sosa moving closer to the Hall of Fame with every home run, meaning another Latin American player making it into baseball's shrine.
Guillen also admitted that Sosa took advantage of the opportunity he provided in the eighth. But Guillen didn't plan to change, at least not his managerial strategy.
"Last night, he proved me wrong," Guillen said. "I like that. But talk about Sammy, hit Sammy? There's only one guy I want to hit, right in the face, and I'm not going to tell you the name. Maybe two, three. Right in the face and break his nose.
"I can be like the manager who was here before. Not just Jerry [Manuel] but another manager. Then, see how many people are going to show up to interview me. It's fun to say, 'Let's go to the ballpark and get Ozzie and I'll get my couple of weeks pay.'
"I'm pretty close to going to be that way," Guillen added. "I'm 99 percent close to being that way."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.