Guillen wants more fire from team
White Sox manager didn't like attitude in loss to Mariners
CHICAGO -- The 30-minute, closed-door meeting held by the White Sox on Friday evening was not called by Ozzie Guillen.
But the White Sox manager certainly had plenty to say once the floor was yielded to the man in charge, and he delivered the message in his unique way.
"I told them, 'We've got a chance to do something very special, or we have a chance to play the kids,'" Guillen said. "I don't talk about winning 15 games in a row. I told them, 'If we're going to get it done, get it done quick.' Get swept these two series, or we'll fight all the way to the end. I told them that.
"Hey, that's easy. If you want to quit teasing people, just get swept this series and the next series, then we'll play the next one for fun. Either one, but I'm not going to give up. As long as I'm getting paid to do this, I'm going to be myself. If they like it, good. If they don't like it, bad, because I've been managing this ballclub for a long time. And I told them, I said that in 2004, and I'm still here."
Guillen's anger holds its roots in frustration over Thursday's heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Mariners in 14 innings. During that setback, which prevented the White Sox from moving within 5 1/2 games of first-place Detroit, Bobby Jenks lost a two-run lead by allowing two solo home runs in the ninth. The offense then mustered just one viable threat over the next five scoreless innings.
In order to combat some of those offensive woes, Guillen made a few significant lineup changes for Friday's series opener against the Royals. Jermaine Dye, who finished 0-for-6 in the loss and has just 10 hits in his past 85 at-bats, was on the bench, as was Alex Rios, whose 0-for-6 showing on Thursday left him with seven hits in his past 73 at-bats.
Dewayne Wise received a rare start in center, and Guillen made it clear that he's going with whatever lineup brings his team victories. But what truly bothered Guillen about Thursday's setback was the idea that his team basically gave up after Seattle tied the game.
It was noticeable in the White Sox dugout, according to Guillen, noticeable enough that he made a comment about the players quitting in the clubhouse after the defeat.
"By myself, by my coaching staff, by everyone, it was a care-less kind of game, like, 'What time does the plane leave? Hurry up guys, we were supposed to land at 12, and now we're going to land at 3,'" Guillen said. "That's the thing, I know, I know, I know that's what we were thinking.
"Those 2 1/2 hours, they gave up. If they said I was wrong, look at yourself in the mirror, because I asked my coaching staff if they were feeling the same way I felt and everyone except one said the same stuff: They sit there, they play catch every inning, hopefully we come out of the inning.
"When Ichiro got that base hit, a lot of people were excited to leave. I was, I was excited. If not, I'd walk Ichiro to face Gutierrez, but I said, 'No, Ichiro will get it done,' and Ichiro did. I almost started chasing him in the outfield, I did. I almost started chasing him all the way to center field to thank him for getting me out of the chair.
"Do they ever have a camera shot in our dugout, or are they only on me? Because every time we do something stupid, they show me. They don't show the team. Well, if you sit there in that corner and you see those guys, you want to fight as a manager, because I wasted my time, my coaching staff's time."
In regard to catching Detroit and Minnesota in the American League Central, Guillen stressed to his players not to worry about the other two teams. He made a bold prediction as to how a 10-5 record over the final 15 games would have the White Sox in contention.
Even if they come up short, though, Guillen's point on Friday was centered on how his team should win and lose the right way -- with fight and conviction.
"You see Gordon Beckham and [Chris] Getz fighting, and you turn around and see the veteran with his head between his legs and worried about it," Guillen said. "Well, I have $40 million or $60 million in my bank, I should go out and have fun. This game is about fun and winning.
"A lot of people talk about the chemistry and the leaders. Any ballclub doesn't have chemistry when you are in last place. When you are losing, you hate your own friend. Right now, when you ask me how many guys I like, I don't like anyone."
"They are going to kill me? No, I'm going to kill them first. I want to die the right way," said Guillen, drawing a laugh from the media. "That's the way it is. I'm serious. In the meanwhile, they know how much I love them. I tell them every day, but I have a job to do. Maybe it's the wrong way, but that's too bad. That's the way I do it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.