Friday, February 17, 2006, 3:30 pm
Just Another Camp …
Well, not really. Let’s see what today’s report day includes:
It rained. Which really isn’t big news except that it hasn’t rained in Arizona in something like four-plus months. It seems like every other February here is cold, drizzly and rainy. I understand no one in Chicago (where it is -2 at the lake tonight and -10 in the suburbs) really cares for our plight.
No Frank Thomas. Generally, our first day of camp is focused on FT, his foot, his contract, etc. Today, it was all about Ozzie (surprise).
First event of the day, Kenny Williams spoke to the media about Ozzie, basically, saying A-Rod’s WBC situation was not something Ozzie should be commenting about publicly.
A few hours later came Ozzie, who called us early in the morning (6:30 am) asking to organize a meeting with the media.
He apologized to A-Rod. He was contrite and said he made a mistake. "I always sleep well and last night, I couldn’t sleep at all."
I had left a message for Ozzie while he was flying to Tucson, telling him of the reaction to the Sports Illustrated piece. He did not get it until he landed.
"I was walking through the airport last night, and I heard the TV say, ‘wait until you hear what Ozzie Guillen had to say about Alex Rodriguez,’ and I thought to myself, ‘what did I say about Alex Rodriguez?’"
You can read Ozzie’s comments today for yourself and make your own judgments. He did sincerely apologize.
One of the national reporters, from a network that was, at times, not too kind to us last year, was in camp today and asked a couple of questions of Ozzie about A-Rod. She was the same reporter who asked Ozzie late last summer if he thought his team would be known as "losers" or "chokers." Ozzie bit his tongue today, which is probably something a great many people — even Ozzie — wished he had done at times recently.
After several minutes of questions for Kenny, all about Ozzie, A-Rod, etc, a smiling Kenny began to answer any and every question (regardless of topic) with comments about the team, our additions, the fact we are World Champions, etc. There wasn’t a lot of focus on the baseball side today … which was one of the questions Ozzie faced.
"Is all this a distraction to your team?" someone asked.
"That’s why I made sure we got together today and talked about it when no players were really here," Guillen said. "Tomorrow, it is all baseball. My guys have one more day to enjoy being World Champions, because tomorrow, when we put the uniforms on, we are no longer World Champions. It is a new season."
Freddy Garcia is expected to be late to camp after having his car stolen in Miami.
Bobby Jenks was in camp today and told about his car accident in Seattle before driving his family down to spring training.
So we are not real lucky with cars right now …
Many compliments on the new decor of the complex. World Champion signs greeted the players as they climbed out of their cars. A Grinder Rule sign is attached to the front of the building, as is a "Chicago White Sox … 2005 World Champions" sign above the front entrance. But the really neat improvement came in the form of dozens of images from the 2005 Postseason, the World Series and the downtown parade that covered the inside of the building.
The favorite seemed to be a shot of the first bus in the parade — hosting Paul Konerko and his family, the Guillens and the Williams family among others — surrounded by thousands of fans with the air full of ticker tape.
"It sends chills through my body," Williams said.
Nothing is sacred. Ozzie was greeted by a special gift on his office desk today. A snow globe of The White House was sitting in the middle of his desk with an enhanced picture of Ozzie, President Bush and Paul Konerko at the recent White House event.
Guillen’s head had been placed on Jermaine’s body in the photo, which was orchestrated by a few front office pranksters.
"See, I guess you really were there," chairman Jerry Reinsdorf joked to Guillen.
We couldn’t let Ozzie get away without taking some heat.
Condolences … to Nancy Nesnidal, who has worked for many years with the White Sox as assistant to the general manager. Nancy, who as everyone knows, is one of the kindest and sweetest women you can know, lost her mother yesterday morning after a long battle. Nothing like arriving at work in Tucson at 7:30 am to learn your mother in Chicago has died. Nancy caught the first plane back home. Our thoughts are with her and her family.
Sadly, Nancy’s dad passed away this summer. If you remember, Kenny Williams said at the time how much her dad’s funeral moved him to think this man was born, lived and then died in Chicago without seeing a White Sox World Series title. Well, Nancy, your mom lived to see a Sox Championship.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nesnidals.