Pregame Thursday

Thursday, September 22, 2005, 4:30 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF … Iguchi, 2B … Everett, DH … PK, 1B … Rowand, CF … Dye, RF … Uribe, SS … Widger, C … Crede, 3B … McCarthy, RHP.

Stress and Managers

Ozzie Guillen was quoted by one suburban columnist this morning as saying that if the White Sox won the World Series, he just might walk away.  He talked about stress and that it sometimes leads to him to the point of vomiting after tough losses.  He talked about how booing from fans affects him.

OzzieguillenMany of us in the front office have heard Ozzie make comments like this about walking away countless times this year and we generally just shrugged it off.  But Ozzie’s comments in print today led to a morning full of speculation on the radio about whether the stress was getting to him, was he blaming fans and would he really quit …

Before batting practice Ozzie explained his comments (and I paraphrase here):

He would consider leaving because it would mean he accomplished everything he could.  He would leave with his head up and as a winner.  I would be like (Mike) Ditka in this town, he said, making money 20 years after I won something.  He then mentioned the video of Ditka being carried off after winning the Superbowl.

He does sometimes get ill because of the stress and strain of managing a team, bit his family shouldn’t worry about his health.  Managing is tough, he said, and he often spends time after a game thinking about what the team needs to work on, what could have been done differently, etc.

Fans have the right to boo and he isn’t bothered by media coverage.  I like talking to the media because it is my job to explain what happened to the fans, he said.  When we are playing badly, I expect to have tough things written.  But when we are playing well, I also expect to read good things.  This team has won 91 games.

He said more, but that was the gist.

In my time here, I have worked with managers Jeff Torborg, Gene Lamont, Terry Bevington, Jerry Manuel and now Ozzie.  The stress of this job is amazing.  People often assume it is from the strategy of the game, the media and fans, because that is so public.  From what I have seen, there is even more stress in dealing with 25 different people and trying to get those 25 guys to buy into a plan that puts the focus on team ahead of themselves. 

Every manager I have known has his own way of dealing with the stress (food, drink, religion, etc), and just about every one has exploded in his own way at sometime or the other (usually in private).  It just comes with the job.  As a teenager/20-something, I used to think being a major league manager would be the greatest job in the world.  Now, having seen it up close and seeing the toll it has on a person, you could not pay me enough to manage a team (and include GM in that as well).

Ups and Downs

As stressful as anything the last two weeks (and arguably even longer) have been the ups and downs.  Sunday was up.  Monday was down.  Tuesday an incredible high.  Last night a blah down.

I can’t ever speak for fans, but I find it so agonizing and frustrating to feel so powerless.  The only thing that matters occurs from 7-10 pm and we all are spectators.  I have always thought that fans booing (and cheering) is often the only way fans can express passionate emotions given the position they are in (section, row and seat).  It certainly is understandable to express exasperation or frustration.  At times for the player, it is very personal, and that is when the two collide.

Some readers have told me what they like best about this blog are my attempts to make the players seem like human beings, not statistics or robots.  I wrote the other day about how guys rely so much on routine and don’t allow ups and downs to affect them much.  That’s true, but they still react with human emotions like joy (Crede and AJ Tuesday night), anger and frustration.  The reactions aren’t always public, but they are there.

Sell Out

Jay Mariotti, a long-time and fervent pro-White Sox columnist in the Chicago Sun-Times, took a rest break in the middle of his column today to accuse the team of "fibbing" by calling last night’s game a sell out when our attendance was 36,543 (capacity is 40,615).

Jay apparently didn’t check the facts before the accusation, but the explanation is this:  before the season starts, several games are selected in advance as exchange dates for season ticket holders.  This is a perk for making an 81-game commitment to the team.  STH can exchange unused tickets for tickets to one of these pre-selected games.  Therefore, the tickets have already been sold once.  The exchange tickets are comp.  Last night was one of those games, obviously a pretty attractive one.  So, we sold every available seat for last night’s game (i.e. a "sell-out") but had several thousand "comp" tickets distrubuted as part of this program to help our season ticket holders.  That’s the explanation, but for all those budding journalists at home, it is always more important to first accuse an organization in print of lying.  Then ask for an explanation.

A Friend

A good friend of mine in the PR world (and a reader of this blog, which is saying a lot since he went to school at LSU … which is a cheap shot, but then you all have read that I went to Iowa.  Our football team beat theirs on New Year’s Day so I’m allowed a little rubbing it in even if it is months later) called me this morning to see how we were doing.

I moped a little on the phone, complaining about last night’s game, and then remembered he had gone back to New Orleans (where he was from) to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  I asked how all his family had fared and how things were going …

"OK," he said, "but my father passed away this weekend."

He skipped over it quickly and went on to the devastation, and the difficult rebuilding process, and now, the scary approach of another storm.

"Wait a minute," I said, stunned.  "I am really, really sorry about your father."

Now, I have to tell you that I felt about as small as you can imagine, complaining to a guy who saw his beloved hometown devastated (he was a great recommender of restaurant/bars like Napoleon House), has been living who-knows-where for the past month, works 14 hour days trying to help Louisianans, and then lost his dad in the last week.

"The first thing we do each morning is check the standings," he said. "Good luck." 

Baseball games are vitally important to all of us for many reasons.  But at the same time, little conversations like this help provide perspective. 

September HeroesJetblue

September baseball games often provide heroes of epic note, but last night, the real hero was the pilot who safely landed that JetBlue plane at LAX.

I was on a team flight from Anaheim in 1992 that blew an engine over the Rocky Mountains late at night.  After a terrifying hour, our jet landed safely in Des Moines (again, thank God for Iowa).  As we climbed off, we all thanked the pilot.

"Oh, it was nothing," he said.  "I’ve done it plenty of times … in a simulator."

19 Comments

Scott,

I came here for the usual pre-game post, and pump up- but I walk away with a very different perspective than ususal.

I love the White Sox- I love the guys and everything they’ve done for this great city in the way they play with so much heart.

But the “pains and frustrations” of this tight race are nothing compared to the real hurt and pain tearing through the Gulf Coast.

I am praying for your friend and his family during this hard time- as well as millions of people affected by these hurricanes.

As die hard of a fan as I am- as all of us are…..at the end of the day, we are ALIVE.

With that, lets go White Sox..and I’m praying for all the people in Rita’s line.

Hey , if you think the Sox were stifled last night just watch them against Santana tonight. Every player that steps into the batter’s box against him……you can see the camel toe showing. what a bunch of women. Punchin’ out. O&A party rock!

Forget about Jay Mariotti. I have been a White Sox fan my whole life living in Vermont and I am flying out to catch the Friday and Saturday night games and make sure this team gets this division. Look forward to seeing the improvements to Comiskey since my last visit in ’98.

To those who are frustrated by the Sox’ recent play, here’s how I see it:

If the Sox had played .600 ball all season, we’d all be cheering about how great they are. No worries.

Instead, they played .700 ball in the first half, and .500 in the second half. So now people are freaking out, some calling them losers and chokers.

Does that really make sense?

The Angels have been playing at .500 since the All-Star break, and no one out there seems to be panicking.

Why should we?

Scott, thanks for the great blog.

Ok, I am not a white sox fan(or a cubs fan) even though I live in Chicago. Even IF the sox do not go to the playoffs, they still won over 90 games this season, and that says a lot about a team. I do live in Chicago and do occasionally read Jay Mariotti’s articles, and one thing I have to say is…Jay Mariotti should not be a journalist, so don’t fret about what he says. Since my team(the brewers) are already out of it, I am rooting for the Sox.
-Mike

Joe Crede Joe Crede Joe Crede JOE CREDE!

(Scott, did you just say, “Jay Mariotti, a long-time and fervent pro-White Sox columnist in the Chicago Sun-Times.” We must get different editions. I’ve never seen Mariotti be pro-anything. He’s nothing but negative, an agitator, a fly in the ointment, sand in the vaseline, a professional jerk.)

Ford was Out!***** you blue.

we should panic because of the offensive juggernaut that just blew through town. Thats our second round playoff opponent.

Marriotti is NOT a sox booster by any means, youre crazy. I hate Marriotti.

Hes as biased for the Cubs as Fox news is for republicans. I wish someone would send him back to Detroit.

If Marte ends up costing us this game, im going to freak the **** out. Atleast he got yanked before he could do any more damage.

the pen is starting to worry me a bit. I know they’ve been on of the best all year, and thier collective BAA is stellar, but the walks are killing me(and the Sox win total)
2 BB in the 9th is UNACCEPTABLE!

J Jones at the plate now, lets get him Cotts!

WOW tell Uribe tomorrow that was a great play in the top of the 9th, his transition from glove to that cannon is great.

these guys are killing me. im getting ulcers here, 1000 miles away, i could see how ozzie gets sick.
I am starting to have a very strong hatred of pop-ups.

especially those of the infield variety.

The estrogen level must have been running high tonight. Not as high as normal. I see ONE run on the board. YIKES

woah, the homers Crede has been providing is nice, but he just laid down a bunt! wow.
as 1 of 30,000 helping oz, i wouldve let pablo hit.

but thats me. walking AJ, so he better break up that DP.

LETS GO SOX!!!

Ya gotta keep the orientals out of key situations. Remember the BIG ONE?

If Pods can’t hit a cut-off man in the middle of the infield, he doesn’t belong out in the OF. I’ve got TiVo and when he got to the ball that LeCroy hit, Ford was only 4 to 6 steps away from 3rd base. Instead of firing it into Crede, Pods double clutched and ***** tossed it into second. He needs to come up firing and make the cut-off man make the decision
of whether or not to let it go home. He looked like a deer caught in the head lights. Who knows what would’ve happened. Atleast Pods would’ve done what all little league coaches preach to 8 and 9 year olds. Put it this way, if Ford still scores maybe you get Mauer cheating to 3rd and getting tossed. Then the Jones hit doesn’t plate him and maybe Punto. This is how small ball is supposed to be played and we’re not playing the game the way it’s suppose to be played.

Good Night White Sox! You pathetic LOSERS. I am now a Cardinals fan for the rest of my life. I *******’ hate this team. See how easy it is!
No one on this team has a set of balls. There’s no one with any character, and they are ALL CHOKERS. All you fantasizing idiots can drown in your sorrow when the Indians win the division by 3 and the Shittysox don’t make the playoffs. I’ve been on this earth too long to invest any more of my allegience to such a F’d up organization. Bill Veeck would have thrown his wooden leg at these A-holes…. and he ******. Let this team go to wherever they want because they will never be Shitcago’s team.

At least I can say I saw the Bears win it all. So long *******.

OPIE & ANTHONY …XM 202

Hey mn8902@aol.com,
You are trying to micromanage a bunch of glorified minor leaguers. Get over it. COME OVER TO THE DARK SIDE.

am i supposed to feel sorry for ozzie throwing up? he makes me throw up when he manages. i hope he doesnt have to win a world series to quit i hope he does it now. if he cant take the heat stay out of the kitchen! this is one pathetic team….how could they not score? its embarrasing. contreras on the bump tomorrow so thats a “W”. then we wont win until he pitches again. they dont try to steal they dont hit and run, if they are a station to station team-where is el cabillo? at least he’d hit 30 doubles and 30 dingers. noone on this team can do that. aaron rowand is another severe *********. cant catch the ball in big games obiviously. they need to seriously re-tool this club. excuse me while i go think about ozzie, rowand, jenks, dye, and stick my hand down my throat and vomit.

Ozzie is a the by far the worst “MANAGER” in all of baseball.
How can his minor league players even understand his awesome pregame speeches…or his after game rants. It must sound like an invtation to some sort of wild party. He was always a joker and guess what?????…..now the jokes on him.

O&A PARTY ROCK

A belated (we’re so embarrassed) and all-tickets-were-sold Happy Birthday from your favorite Travel advisor.

Hang in…

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