Ozzie's audience to expand on FOX
Colorful Sox skipper added as analyst during World Series
CHICAGO -- In the court of public opinion, Ozzie Guillen rarely worries about the final verdicts even in cases for which he falls as the center of the judgment.
Let's say you view Guillen as one of the game's best managers, a true motivator as well as an aggressive in-game operator, who pushed his White Sox squad to a World Series title in 2005? Well, that depiction sits fine with the White Sox leader, but it won't cause him to rest on past accomplishments or grow complacent.
But maybe you judge Guillen as nothing more than a crazy entertainer, randomly spewing profanities and sometimes taking the focus off of baseball? That analysis doesn't bother Guillen either, as frustrating as it can be to have a life's work based on a handful of outbursts.
Ultimately, Guillen answers to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, general manager Ken Williams, his players, coaches and the White Sox fan base, not to mention, of course, his tight-knit family.
Over the next week or so, though, during what promises to be a highly competitive World Series between the Phillies and Yankees, Guillen will have a chance to show the first analysis above falls far closer to the truth than the latter.
Guillen begins his work as a pre- and postgame analyst, joining Chris Rose, Mark Grace and Eric Karros, in breaking down the World Series on FOX. Guillen's debut foray into national broadcasting gives the rest of the baseball nation an opportunity to see his unique brand of true baseball acumen up close and personal.
"It's a great opportunity for him," said White Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert, who will join Guillen during the World Series action. "There's definitely a perception of him in Chicago, for those who follow us every day or from personally seeing him every day or for those who know him.
"Then, there's a perception nationally and even internationally. All of them are different. This kind of stage, at the World Series, part of our thinking and his is that you will see Ozzie the way all of us do. People will realize what passion he has for baseball and how he knows the game."
This particular brand of Guillen passion often has manifested itself in the aforementioned classic Guillen diatribe or two during the six previous years he has been at the White Sox helm. And those rants, whether they are focused on Magglio Ordonez or players on his team watching college football following a tough September loss to Detroit this past season, certainly help the television censors earn their money.
Don't expect the wild Guillen to be on display during his upcoming broadcast work. In fact, Guillen had a little fun with the concept during a Monday conference call including the FOX World Series broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
"We have a bet on it, and I'm going to make a lot of money out of this," said Guillen with a laugh, referring to wagers among his inner circle about using on-air profanities. "I only curse when the Chicago media is around me. I only curse when I'm mad at my team."
"Ozzie is smart like a fox," said Reifert, no pun intended with Guillen's temporary employment on the network. "When he goes off, it's generally to motivate the White Sox. If people tune in to see that, they will end up seeing a different guy. They will end up going, 'Wow. He really loves the game and understands the game' and will help the viewer understand."
Along with his pre- and postgame work, Guillen will appear on the World Series coverage provided by FOX Sports En Espanol. Guillen mentioned on Monday how the World Series ratings will be up in countries such as Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico because all of those fans will be tuning in to now see what Guillen has to say.
"A lot of people back in my country are really excited about it," Guillen said. "I'll just try to be myself and do what I do best -- talk baseball."
"He wasn't going to be in the World Series, so we thought maybe he would be available," said Ed Goren, president and executive producer of FOX Sports, of Guillen's addition. "We reached out. We have some Chicago connections in our organization and feel very fortunate to have Ozzie as part of the team."
According to Reifert, multiple networks called Guillen during September to check out his interest in this sort of work. Guillen settled on FOX, a network that Goren said has never used any delay in its sports broadcasts.
Delays won't be needed for Guillen on this occasion. Fans of the game will be able to judge his effort simply by the information he provides, possibly providing a new outlook into Guillen's baseball psyche, with one minor concern presented by Gordon Beckham, Guillen's rookie sensation at third base.
"Hopefully, people can understand him," said Beckham with a laugh of his manager. "When you are not around Ozzie all the time, it's kind of tough. It's kind of tough even when you are around him. But he knows a lot about the game, is really colorful and I think he's going to do a great job."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.