Guillen excited for crosstown series
Winning first priority in Interleague series against Cubs
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is at no loss for words when it comes to this weekend's crosstown series with the Cubs.
"One thing about Sox fans, they show up and watch the game," Guillen said. "Some people go to Wrigley Field -- I'm not going to say everyone -- some people go to Wrigley Field from Europe and Paris and want to have a tour of the game. No one wants to have a tour here. They're legit fans."
When the series begins Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, though, don't expect the White Sox to treat it differently than any other series.
With both teams in first place in their respective divisions, bragging rights rate a distant second to staying a step ahead of their division opponents.
"The rest of our division has gotten hot, and we got to try and keep pace with how they're playing," said White Sox starter John Danks, who will pitch the series opener.
Guillen agrees. He's not buying into the hype for his ballclub, but he appreciates what the series means to the fans, having played in the series in 1997, his last season as a White Sox player. He went 2-for-11 in that series with a double and a walk.
"I think it's great," Guillen said. "I think it's fun. I think it's good for the fans, good for everybody. Even if you try to avoid the circumstances, you can't avoid the circumstances. But we're in first place, they're in first place. They're playing great baseball.
"A lot of people ask about the New York series," Guillen added. "I don't think the New York Series is bigger than this series. With all the respect to New York fans, this series here, I can't believe it's that important to the fans ... but from a manager's point, the only good thing about this series is when the game starts, you're going to compete against one of the game's best managers and one of the best teams in the game right now, and that's the only good thing in my way."
Even with some nice words for the Cubs, a lot would have to change before Guillen ever decided to work for his club's North Side rival. After all, he played 13 seasons with the White Sox and is in his fifth season as the team's manager.
"I can't say I'm going to burn the bridges," Guillen said. "I'm going to wait until [club chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf dies, and then I'll take a look at that. I'll never do it to Jerry Reinsdorf. I'll never do it to [general manager] Kenny Williams, I don't think. It's hard for me to say no, but it's going to be tough for me to wear that uniform."
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.