Rd. 2: Guillen upset with umpire Cuzzi
Manager discusses his disdain for previous night's decision
CHICAGO -- There might be a conversation or two taking place between Ozzie Guillen and umpires Ed Montague, Jim Wolf or Jerry Layne prior to Thursday's first pitch at U.S. Cellular Field.
As for any sort of conciliatory talk between the White Sox manager and umpire Phil Cuzzi, who ejected Guillen in the third inning of Monday's home opener, Guillen made it clear that a meeting of the minds won't be happening any time soon.
"I don't like that guy behind the plate, and I'm going to let him know," said Guillen, during his pregame meeting with the media. "It's one reason if you don't like me as a man and what I do, I respect that. But if you don't like me, and all of a sudden you're going to take it out on my players, you're wrong.
"That's unprofessional, and I just let him know I didn't like him the first day I saw him, and I think he feels the same way about me. Every time he's behind the plate, we might have a problem. We might. We have. I think the last couple times behind the plate, we have a problem."
Guillen was referring to Monday's ejection, which came after he argued Cuzzi's called second strike on Paul Konerko, and Cuzzi's ejection of Guillen on July 31, 2007, at Yankee Stadium. This 12th career ejection came during the first inning of a 16-3 loss to the Yankees, and No. 13 followed on Monday.
According to Guillen, he deserved the early exit in New York because he was doing too much complaining about a checked swing. But Guillen felt Monday's reaction not only was unfair, but that Cuzzi goaded him when he questioned the call.
"He did," Guillen said. "I asked where the pitch was, and he said, 'I don't want to hear anymore.' That's the first thing I said to him. It's not professional. And he tried to be smart with me.
"When they send me the bill [fine for getting ejected], and I'll sign exactly and tell them exactly what I say and exactly what I say before and not what I say after [the ejection] because it's not pretty. I will say, 'Look at the pitch when I say something to him.'
"I'm not going to win that one," Guillen added. "But I want to make it clear I don't like him. No, not at all. I don't like him as a person or as an umpire."
Cuzzi wasn't bothered by Guillen's comments when questioned before Wednesday's game by a pool reporter. Cuzzi also made it clear that the disdain Guillen felt toward him was not returned.
"It may be personal to him, but I'm just doing my job," Cuzzi said. "It's as simple as that. The pitches he complained about, they were good pitches. The ones I called balls weren't. It's a simple as that. He may have it in his mind, but I don't.
"That's up to him. It doesn't bother me in the sense that if that's what he decides he's going to do, that's his business. I'm just doing my job. He had nothing to complain about. The tape will prove that."
This problem with Cuzzi didn't begin at the start of Guillen's managerial run in 2004. Instead, Guillen said it started with last year's ejection.
As he stated previously, Guillen plans to talk with the league office again about this on-field problem getting personal. In Guillen's mind, though, it has reached the point where he knew an ejection was on its way as soon as he saw Cuzzi behind the plate.
"You can ask my bench coach [Joey Cora]," Guillen said. "As soon as I saw him, I say, 'You're going to handle this game today because I know I'm going to be ejected' because that's how I feel about that situation.
"Umpires are going to make calls. Being right or wrong, they're going to make calls. It's their job, but when you say something to them and all of a sudden they try to be like, 'They come to see me here, the fans come to see me umpire,' that was wrong.
"I don't have any problem with the umpires over the course of my career," Guillen added. "But we're going to put it on the table. I got good sleep last night. I will spend all my money for him. I don't care."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.