02/25/10 1:33 AM EST
Ozzie finds new way to connect with fans
Tweets to focus on family, personal life not baseball
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
He has been an All-Star shortstop, a popular media fixture and even had a book written about his best quotes from the 2005 championship season. But it took the White Sox manager's first foray into Twitter on Tuesday night to help him understand his true worldwide popularity.
It's the only way Guillen could really explain the mini-controversy surrounding his entrance into the world of social media.
"All of a sudden, it's Ozzie Guillen ... I didn't know how famous I was," said Guillen, addressing the Twitter topic during his Wednesday afternoon press conference, a topic which took up 13 minutes of the 15-minute session. "That's pretty interesting. I thought people hated me. I don't know why people are making such a big deal."
Guillen's Twitter account of @ozzieguillen opened with basic observations concerning his poor golf effort on Tuesday, a barbeque he was having with his family Wednesday and how he was already bored after just a couple of days of Spring Training. The issue took on a new life when general manager Ken Williams was apprised of the situation by the media when he made a brief stop in the clubhouse and expressed his displeasure.
Word also started to spread as to how it was Ozzie Jr. and Oney, two of Guillen's sons, who were actually tweeting in their dad's name. Oney told MLB.com on Wednesday about the two kids having their own accounts, and while they helped their dad get started, it has been all his words from there.
"We set it up and he's going to be doing it," said Oney, sitting outside the White Sox complex at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday morning.
"People, stop asking me. I am not writing on Twitter for my dad or anyone," said Ozzie Jr., through his Twitter account, @oguillenjr. "So please stop asking."
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"He's going to be tweeting about what he does personally," Oney said. "It's a way for him to connect with fans in Chicago and Venezuela, so people want to follow. I don't see how it hurts the White Sox in any way.
"He has been hearing about Twitter for the last five years. He wanted [an account] of his own. He's 45. He can do what he wants."
At least, at this moment, Guillen can do what he wants on Twitter. He talked with Williams on Wednesday and explained his tweets will focus on personal and family life and not baseball, although it will be hard for Guillen to stay completely away from baseball, since baseball is a big part of his life.
Here's what won't be coming from Guillen via Twitter: anything to do with the private inner workings of the team.
"I told Kenny I'm not going to be crazy," Guillen said. "What do you think: watching the guys practice and I'll be on my phone tweeting people?
"First, I don't have time for that. Second, I respect this game so much and respect the players and baseball so much I'm not going to do it. Even if I wanted to, I'm not going to because it's not healthy for everyone. Even if I wanted to do it, it's not going to happen."
As of late Wednesday night, Guillen had amassed more than 10,000 followers. The White Sox players didn't seem to be affected by Guillen's Twitter choice, with individuals such as third baseman Mark Teahen having his own popular Twitter account, as an example, told through his dog, ESPY.
Gordon Beckham has a Facebook page, as does teammate John Danks, but Beckham admitted he doesn't spend much time there. Beckham also did a blog for MLB.com last year, so he understands the fan interest in the life of a public sports figure. He stopped posting entries, though, when he joked how it started to feel like school in finding a new topic every week.
"You all write for a living, but I can't do it. It wasn't for me, although maybe down the road [I'll do it] again," Beckham said. "People want to know how Ozzie thinks, and I don't think it's too big of an issue. If he wants to do it, let him do it."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella was asked about Guillen's Twitter and joked that Guillen would need more space than the 140-character limit per tweet. For now, Guillen's thoughts will be expressed through this forum.
If it becomes a distraction or Guillen's bosses disapprove, this instantly famous account just might close down.
"I was famous for a day, so I don't mind," Guillen said. "I don't make money out of this. I just want to have fun. But if money was involved in this situation, I'm pretty sure I'd get fired because I'd fight for this situation. But I don't make money out of this. I just want to know what it's all about."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.