CHICAGO -- With a noticeable but subtle roll of the eyes and a sardonic tone, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen explained his sixth-inning ejection following Monday's 6-3 Interleague loss to the Cubs.
"He was right, I was wrong," said Guillen, sitting in the U.S. Cellular Field Conference and Learning Center. "Because if I say what I want to say, I'll lose another 20 grand.
"So I'm just going to leave it that way. He was right, I was wrong and I got kicked out of the game. I'm tired of paying people money for no reason."
The play in question took place with one out in the sixth inning, coming just moments after Carlos Pena's three-run home run off Gavin Floyd in the top of the frame gave the Cubs a three-run advantage. Alexei Ramirez tipped a 1-2 curve from Carlos Zambrano just a few feet in front of the plate, but with the backspin, it immediately rolled back to Cubs catcher Geovany Soto and toward foul territory.
Soto picked up the ball and tagged Ramirez, with home-plate umpire James Hoye ruling the play was made in fair territory for an unassisted putout. Ramirez complained and Guillen raced from the dugout, only to be ejected seconds later when he stomped on the foul spot where he indicated the ball landed.
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"That play, I got it right in front of me, right in front of me. That's why I went out and had an argument about it," said Guillen, who earned his 27th career ejection and his second this season. "I told him I'm not gonna argue it unless I'm right. This year, you don't see me on the field that often. I went out there just to protect my players. On this play, I use glasses, but just to read and write. I can see a little farther."
"I'm pretty sure I got it right off the top of the plate," Soto said. "It was a swinging bunt and the ball was rolling back toward me and I caught it before it left home plate. The umpire was right over my shoulder and saw it. He's got to come out and pull for his player. Stuff happens."
Guillen always gets his money's worth on ejections, but Monday's ejection came with a show of theatrics. As Hoye threw out the White Sox manager, Guillen kicked Soto's mask toward the White Sox dugout with enough distance to make Bears placekicker Robbie Gould proud.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was in the home clubhouse when the play transpired, watching the action. And the captain found humor in Soto's reaction to Guillen's dropkick.
"The look on Soto's face when he got his face mask kicked, that was priceless," said a smiling Konerko, who homered in his fourth straight game. "We were in here watching it and we just shook our heads like, 'Oh my god. Did he just kick his face mask?' I think Ozzie knows him. I'm thinking if he didn't know him, he might not do that. But Ozzie was pretty hot."
Whether Guillen and Soto are friends or just acquaintances didn't seem to matter to Soto. He also took the kicked mask in stride.
"You have to understand, there's a lot of emotions," Soto said. "He's pulling for his team. Stuff happens. I think he thought it was the umpire's mask. I just thought it was funny."
"I missed the dropkick," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "It must have been good because I saw the look on Soto's face."
According to Guillen, that same kick years ago would have broken one of his toes. The lighter constructed mask saved personal injury.
Meanwhile, Ramirez simply appreciated his manager once again having his back.
"Not only for myself but for the whole team to see that in a situation like that, your coach has your back," said Ramirez, through translator Jackson Miranda. "I don't speak English very well, but I knew when Ozzie was coming out, he understood what I was saying."