Ozzie on Galarraga, Griffey and the White Sox

Inside the dugout today with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen:

Q: What did you think about what Leyland did today with Galarraga?

A: I tweeted that this morning … that was very classy, I think it’s very professional and I think the way Galarraga…Detroit fans handled it was outstanding. What probably could have been one of the ugliest parts of the game became one of the best ones. What they did was very classy. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.  This guy, I love him more now.  I have more respect for that umpire now than I’ve ever had, that was very classy.  He took it like a man, maybe someone else would have a day off, won’t show up, show their face, won’t want to talk, this guy was very classy.

The Detroit Tigers were classy.  They turned the page in less than 24 hours. Obviously last night’s game everybody was upset, everyone was sad.  The guy that feels the worst — and there is no doubt in my mind — is the umpire. I tweeted this morning about it, it’s something you really like to see in baseball, and in every sport, this is a family game.  We have to learn from that.  People make mistakes.  One thing about it , they turn the page, move on, and continue to work. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.  There are a few things that put tears in my eyes, only a few things, and I saw that this morning and had a few tears in my eyes when I saw it.

Q: Do you know Jim Joyce?

A: Awesome guy, I know him from Triple-A.  That’s what I said last night, why him? Why couldn’t it have happened to someone we could hate for the rest of their life.  Why it have to be my man? It was a sad moment, especially in my country, we all wanted that, our country suffered by that ,but we learned something, how to get it done and move on right away. Galarraga did a tremendous job, Jim Leyland was outstanding, every player from the Detroit Tigers, I tip my hat to them.

Q: What was it like having Ken Griffey?

A: It was great for us, believe me. He was a class act; he owes Don Cooper a guitar though. Griffey now you’re retired you have time to buy a guitar for Coop. Class act man, very, very professional with me. I don’t care what he did with another team in the past, with me he went by the rules and played hard for us. The teammates loved him, I do, and he had a great career, maybe one of the best ever to play the game. God Bless him now, he’s going to take care of his kid, live a normal life, I don’t know how he’s going to handle it. I think he was a great man for baseball.

Q: With the perfect games, we seem to be seeing more low scoring games, is pitching coming back?

A: No more juice. (Laughing), maybe, ya never know. Believe me, I think pitching has been great. There is a lot of good, good, good pitching out there.  Look at the kid from Colorado, Jimenez, it doesn’t surprise me those guys are doing that. Right now, I think the pitching is a lot better.  You can sign a kid a couple days ago, and he’s in the big leagues the next week. I think right now, baseball goes after pitchers, first round picks, second round picks, biggest drafts, pitchers. I said that three years ago, this game is going to be back to pitching, defense, and speed. When you throw a perfect game, a no- hitter, your defense has to be good. Look at Halladay, the play by Castro, that’s not an easy play. I think the people have to blame Cabrera for the perfect game, he was playing second base (laughing)! If someone’s throwing a perfect game, and I’m playing the position, I don’t want the ball hit to me. Cabrera wanted the ball! He went way out there to make the play. Defense and pitching is why hitters suffer right now, I’ve never seen that many players in June hitting .200 and .190s and .210’s, even good players. I think a lot of teams know they can’t win without pitching.

Q: After the two tough losses here, have you talked to the team at all?

A: I talked to them last night a little bit. How we feel about this ball club. I want to get feedback from the club.  I was telling them how I feel about them, and I still believe in them, I still believe we have a good one. I finished up by saying maybe it’s not the clubhouse, it’s the coaching room. If you look around this ballclub and release any of these players, they will get picked up by someone. You take anyone out there they will have a job the next day, a couple of days later. I just want them to know I still believe in them, I want them to know, they can go out and race for two months. I want to let them know we’ve gotta attack people; we’ve got to pitch better.

I told them why we’re in last place. Period. Only two reasons, when you’re last in hitting and 2nd to last in pitching, you don’t deserve to be in first. It’s the reason we’re in last. You’re not hitting, you’re not pitching, you’re in last place, or wherever we are. You aren’t going to compete like that. I let them know we still have time to recover, we still have time to gain some ground, but I can’t do it. I’ll try to help, but it’s in their hands. I always say you’re not a good manager, the only way you’re a good manager is if you get the best out of your players. Right now I’m not a good manager.  I don’t take the most out of them. A lot of them were blaming themselves; maybe I’m not taking everything out of you guys … No one said anything, but I think when your team plays like that, your coach plays like that, you put doubts in yourself. It’s like when you’re a teacher, and 80% of your class doesn’t pass, are you teaching the right thing? Are you doing the right thing? It’s the same with me.

Q: What do you think about chemistry in the clubhouse?

A: Chemistry is always over rated. Always.  The only team that has chemistry, and you always hear it, is when they are in first place. You don’t see any team finish in last place, and say, ‘wow,’ we have great chemistry, we lost 100 games.’  I told you I remember saying in spring training, if we love each other the same way we love each other right now, we’re in first place. When teams win, everyone loves each other. When they lose … that’s not just the White Sox, it’s every baseball team, the players talking bad about the managers, manager talking bad about the players, coaches fighting. Coaches get fired, all that stuff when you have a bad team. Fans hate you, your family hates you. There are so many negative things going through your life. I say that because I went through it.  I played for a lot of really, really bad teams.  I played with good teams. I played with more bad ones than good ones.  I coached bad teams, and I don’t think this team is bad. We just don’t play the way we think we should be playing. I keep saying that, if we finish last, and lose 100 games, I’ll continue to say this ballclub is better than what we show. I told them last night, if you don’t believe in yourself, I do. Because when Kenny asked me about it, I said right in his face, we should win with this ballclub and compete with this ballclub.

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