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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Guillen Bandwagon?

The more rumors you hear about the candidates for the next Sox manager, the more confused you get.  A lot of names have surfaced, but the two who seem to come up the most are Cito Gaston and Ozzie Guillen. 

Up to this point I’ve been on the record as preferring an experienced candidate not named Bobby Valentine over a rookie manager, but if these two are the actual finalists in the race, I’ll have to choose Ozzie over the veteran. 

The reason is pretty simple.  The veteran players on this club need a swift kick in the butt, and I don’t think Gaston is going to be the person to give it.  When he managed the Blue Jays, he was known for his shall we say even disposition.  In other words, Gaston’s relationship with his players would probably be similar to that of Gen. Disarray (aka Jerry Manuel). 

On the plus side, Gaston is not a known tinkerer with lineups.  Once he decides who his everyday players are, he goes with them.  There would be no experimenting with different combinations of lineups up to the All-Star break. 

However, the more I hear about Ozzie Guillen as a coach, the more I like him as a managerial candidate.  Jeff Torborg weighed in during an interview with Mike Murphy and Fred Huebner on WCSR by saying, “Ozzie’s the kind of guy who will chew out a player when he makes a mistake, but a few minutes later, he’s inviting him to dinner.”  In other words, he’s fair. 

Having seen Ozzie work as a third base coach in the playoffs and World Series, I was impress at how conscientious he is about his job.  He puts himself into a position where the players can actually see him as they come around second and as they round third base.   

Reports are that he works with young players on the fundamentals, and if the Marlins are one thing, they are a fundamentally sound ball club.  Ozzie has to be a big part of that. 

As a player, Ozzie wasn’t afraid to get into the face of the team’s stars.  Before one game with the White Sox, Guillen saw Frank Thomas goofing off taking ground balls at shortstop.  He reportedly ran out to Frank and ripped him a new one.  “Get back over to first base,” he was reported as saying.  “You can’t play defense so get over there and get to work.” 

On the other hand, Ozzie was also the guy who kept the clubhouse loose.  That’s something else the Sox seem to need at this point.  You could almost see the sphincters tightening when the Sox went into Minnesota in September.  A good manager, as opposed to the recently dismissed one, would find a way to keep the team loose.   

Tony Peña is supposedly good at doing that in Kansas City.  The only thing his club lacked going into the last series of the season with the Sox was depth and experience.  Give Ozzie a primarily veteran team, and he should be able to do even better at it than Peña was. 

So sign me up for the Ozzie Guillen bandwagon.  I’m ready to jump on.  Of course that means that the Sox will probably hire Willie Randolph. 

--------

 

Was anybody surprised at David Wells walk-off during game five of the World Series Thursday night?  Wells had earlier ridiculed Roger Clemens’ work ethic and conditioning program, stating that he could pitch just as well without resorting to any kind of conditioning program. 

This is the same David Wells who, while pitching for the Sox, chided Frank Thomas on his WMVP radio show for not coming back right away after he hurt his arm early in the 2001 season.  Wells went on the disabled list for the rest of the season with, naturally, back problems.   

So now Mr. Wells’ back has hurt at least two different ball clubs.  He was supposed to be the Sox’ ace in 2001.  That’s why Kenny Williams traded Mike Sirotka to the Blue Jays for him.  Now he’s put the Yankees’ backs to the wall in the World Series. 

I think I’d rather have Roger Clemens and his work ethic on my ball club. 


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

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