10/05/08 4:18 PM EST
Ozzie surprised by Cubs' quick exit
White Sox manager expresses regret for friends across town
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
With 97 wins recorded by the North Siders during the 2008 regular season, though, the Dodgers' three-game sweep of the National League's top team came as a surprise to at least one prominent figure trying to avoid his own Division Series sweep.
"Yes, I was very surprised," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of the Red Line World Series possibility disappearing with the Dodgers' third straight victory over the Cubs. "Am I happy or sad? No. I have a couple of friends there and I know how bad they wanted to win it, but they couldn't."
Guillen sent a text message to Carlos Zambrano as soon as the Dodgers completed their 3-1 win on Saturday. The White Sox manager told the Cubs ace and fellow Venezuelan native to keep his head up and don't let any upcoming criticism bring him down.
"But I think Cubs fans shouldn't forget how great this summer was for them," Guillen said. "I always say you play 162, but when the season is over, it's a new season. They [did not] play well during the new season.
"Meanwhile, I think they went out and played their heart out. They just got beat. The expectations were so high. It's not easy as a player to come every day with 'This is the year. This is the year.' Well, what if this isn't the year? What if 'the year' is next year?"
When the rain eventually stopped on Sunday, Guillen and his charges had their shot to avoid a combined 0-6 showing for Chicago in the Division Series. Guillen hoped his White Sox ultimately didn't feel the same sense of loss as their crosstown rivals.
"You look at those guys' faces and the way they talk, I feel for them," Guillen said. "I have friends over there and I know how the people in this city are. The expectations were so high. I don't know how they handled it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.