Guillen fined for comments about ump
White Sox manager stands by decision to defend team
CHICAGO -- The attempt by Ozzie Guillen to become a land baron in his native Venezuela took a direct hit Friday when Major League Baseball fined the White Sox manager for his comments made about umpire Phil Cuzzi prior to Wednesday's game with the Twins.
"I got fined a lot of money -- that's all I can say," Guillen said with a laugh, adding the $100,000 fund he had set aside for funds had a chunk taken out of it. "A lot of money. I was supposed to buy land in Venezuela, and now I got a hole. I really could buy land in Venezuela with that money."
Guillen's comments concerning Cuzzi started with a direct statement as to how he didn't like the umpire and believed the ump felt the same way about him. Guillen also suggested Cuzzi had taken out these personal feelings on his team, and the manager said he predicted his ejection from Monday's game, which happened in the third inning, to bench coach Joey Cora as soon as he saw Cuzzi behind the plate.
Apparently, Jimmie Lee Solomon, the executive vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, didn't appreciate Guillen's comments. Guillen added that he had a good talk about the situation with Major League Baseball, and that he wouldn't change his stance as long as it meant standing up for his team.
"I'm going to protect them. It's like they are 25 of your kids," Guillen said. "The only opinion I care about is my players' opinion, and if they feel I'm not protecting them, then we have problems.
"After they sent the amount, I just moved on. No matter what you do, you don't win that battle. I expected it, and I respect the way they handle it. I talked to them and gave them my ideas. Hopefully, in the future, this stuff gets better.
"One thing about it, every time you get kicked out, you let your team down," Guillen added. "You are not there the whole game. The last thing I want to do is get kicked out, but if it's to protect my players, then that's my job."
Atlanta's Bobby Cox, one of Guillen's favorite managers, has been kicked out more than any man leading a team. Guillen admitted it's all a matter of perception dealing with the individual manager and his particular argument.
"Last year, [Cubs manager] Lou [Piniella] got kicked out of the game, and all of a sudden the team started winning," Guillen said. "That was the best thing that ever happened to the Cubs. It depends on who does it and how the team responds.
"If I do it, I'm crazy. If someone else does it, that's the way to pump up their team."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.