A Day In The Life
Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 5:04 pm
Random Sights and Sounds Before a Sox Game
There is nothing in the world like sitting in Ozzie Guillen’s office about five hours before a baseball game.
Ozzie sits behind his little glass desk in his long underwear (when he installed the desk two years ago, he took some good-natured ragging about his South Beach desk). Pictures of his wife, family and friends surround him on the walls. The United States and Venezuelan flags share a single flagpole. Awards and trophies are arrayed around the room, along with a great many books, all in Spanish. A refrigerator sits in the corner, just below a television that is constantly turned on — alternating among Spanish-language TV, ESPN and local news.
Two couches in Ozzie’s office are filled with people, often me, Kenny Williams, Joey Cora, one of Ozzie’s sons, visitors from Venezuela (some who can speak English, others who cannot … it appears). Players wander in and out. Coaches wander in and out. Others poke their heads into his office to say hello or ask a quick question. Sometimes Ozzie hops up and walks outside into the clubhouse to talk to someone or ask a question. The phone rings. Music plays. We could be at the
corner market in Caracas, hanging out on Ozzie’s porch in Miami or in the ballpark in Chicago.
And it is constant Ozzie. Ozzie on the team. Ozzie on what he did last night. Ozzie on his kids — and his kids give it back to Ozzie — but with respect. Ozzie on the game that night. Ozzie on a story from 1984, 1994 or 2004 … sometimes all at once (today his stream-of-consciousness covered Robert Valido, Juan Agosto, Julio Cruz, Tony La Russa, Kenny Williams … ). Ozzie doing impersonations, Ozzie doing imitations (many of AJ), Ozzie making pointed comments, and somewhere in there Ozzie offering a very lucid commentary on his 2006 White Sox.
I wish I could bring a camera into his space and let you see Ozzie in casual action among his friends and teammates.
Then, he often goes outside and repeats the performance for the media.
It really is amazing to see and most days, we leave the room laughing … which I think I read somewhere is the way you should always leave a room.
Yesterday, as he bantered with the media, Ozzie inadvertantly (or intentionally) paid us the greatest compliment.
"The marketing and PR departments around here," he said with a twinkle in his eye and his head tilted slightly. "All they care about are the fans. They don’t care about the manager. Fans come first. The manager is last."
Well, he’s certainly not last. But he’s right that we do try and place the fans first. I think he knows that is the right order — despite what he might say.
Continues to feel better and will undergo an epidural tomorrow. The only epidural I experienced (well, watched), came past midnight under quite a bit of duress (at least for my wife, less so for me), but the effects and relief were amazing. Here’s to hoping that Jose feels the same way tomorrow afternoon.
White Sox scouting analyst Mike Gellinger (who also throws BP and works on the field during practice) took a richocet line drive off the wall of the batting cage and went down today. After receiving treatment for the cut and bruise, Mike headed back out to batting practice on the field.
The ricochets in our cages are infamous.
Always a fun topic for all …
Last night, a member of the media I hadn’t seen for awhile asked me how the blog was going.
"Everywhere I go, people are talking about it," he offered, with a mix of smart aleck, mild threat, veiled animosity, deep baloney.
I relayed the comment to a friend later.
"Well, at least you know they are reading," he said with a laugh.
With Jim Thome home run blasts reaching amazing distances into the right field stands even in the cool April and May weather, talk has turned to how far balls might fly when the weather turns warm.
We had a team of students from IIT (next door) survey the ballpark prior to the 2003 All-Star Game so that we would know distances to the newly renovated ballpark was accurate.
As part of the study, the team surveyed all the way up the back walls of the ballpark.
"Just in case," they told me then.
"Yeah, right," I replied.
Well, thankfully, we now know that a home run off the top of the LaSalle Bank sign in right field would have travelled 530 feet had it not hit the sign. That might be good to know come June-July-August.
Here is an AP shot from before Game 1 of the last World Series that shows roughly what that poke would look like to a batter:
Here’s to …
May Charlie’s knuckleball dance tonight …