[Above is a picture of U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, which I took from my seat in the 500 Level at Friday (18 July) night's game against the Kansas City Royals, the last time the Sox, who have now lost three consecutive games, won.]
One of the few professors at UIC I ever learned anything from, Paul Carroll, told us in one of his early morning poetry classes, not to obsess about a thought or word or words that we meant to put down on paper but had forgotten, because these things all come back to you. I remembered this lesson recently when I meant a week or two ago to blog something about the manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen. At that time, Guillen, aka the Mouth of the South (Side), had one of his brilliant managerial tactics come back to bite him in the ass. As a young pitcher was in trouble while facing the Sox, Guillen vocally berated him, and heckled him from the Sox dugout. This had the effect of making the pitcher angry and giving him the impetus to reach back into his well of strength, both physical and mental, and mow down the remaining batters he had to face, resulting, ultimately, in the Sox losing that game.
But I forgot about that and didn't want to bother thinking about the idiot Ozzie. But this week he has done it again. Guillen apparently couldn't deal with the way the otherwise abysmal Royals were manhandling the Sox this weekend and he ordered one of his young pitchers, just up from the minors, to intentionally throw at one of the Royals batters. Unlike the time last year, when the rookie pitcher he told to throw at an opposing batter disobeyed the Blizzard of Oz, only to be publicly berated by Guillen then dealt away to another team, this time the Sox player threw at the player Guillen wanted the ball to hit. Except he missed. The pitcher threw at the batter's behind but missed. Guillen went ballistic in the Sox dugout, throwing stuff, kicking stuff and acting like a spoiled brat.
In spite of antics like this, the Sox are (just barely) in first place. His defenders and apologists say things like "Well, that's just Ozzie being Ozzie" or "he's a hard-nosed old school baseball player" or "He just acts like that to take the spotlight off his players."
Whatever their excuses, none of it washes with me. If he was smart, confident and competent, there would be no reason for Guillen to act like the idiot he likely is (need I remind everyone of the time he called in to Mike North's show on WSCR radio and unleashed a barrage of expletives live, on the air, in the morning, while listeners of all ages would be tuned in?). It's remarkable that someone like Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has always been all about "character" guys on the Sox and Bulls, would allow Guillen to continue to act out like this, unmuzzled.
One thing that my father used to say, when he really wanted to speak disparagingly of someone, was to say that person had "no class." Ozzie Guillen fits this to a T. He may know baseball, he may know how to handle baseball players, but he is an utterly classless individual.
I could never be a Cubs fan, in the same way that I could never, no matter how frustrated I get with Democrats and Liberals, become a Republican. It just ain't in me. Besides, the Sox have the nicer stadium, with the better food, nicer bathrooms, easier parking, wider seats and even though the demographics may be about the same these days, the Sox have a more blue collar, working-class feel to their supporters, which I feel more comfortable with. But in spite of all that I can't stand or just don't care for as far as the Cubs are concerned, I am genuinely envious of them when it comes to the skipper. Lou Pinella, the smart, quirky, sometimes nutty but often brilliant manager, is everything Dr. Oz isn't -- and he's got class, which Guillen will never have.