Catching Up

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I’ve been trying to find the time to sit down and write a bit for awhile now, so I apologize that some of this may seem dated.

Kids

Leave it to kids … as I put my 11-year-old daughter into bed last Thursday, we talked about the crazy end to baseball’s regular season, especially the fact that the Red Sox lost their game and then had to watch their postseason hopes evaporate just minutes later when Tampa beat the Yankees dramatically.  With several nieces and nephews (her cousins) living in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Red Sox loss was personal for my daughter.

“Well,” she offered.  “At least you guys knew you weren’t getting in.”

Gee, thanks, babe.

Jeffe

Paul Konerko has this amazing ability to summarize just the right thought very succintly.  His skill showed again last week as we parted ways with Ozzie Guillen and he quickly landed in Miami as the Marlins new manager.

“No matter who comes in, it’s going to be quieter,” Konerko was quoted as saying.  “It’s been crazy.  It’s never been boring.”

That certainly summarizes, in a nutshell, my last eight years with Ozzie. 

I truly will miss Ozzie on a personal and professional level, while admittedly my professional job might be a little less … what’s the right word? Electric!

I will always admire Ozzie’s ability to absolutely fill any room he entered with excitement, energy and enthusiasm.  He said hello to everyone and anyone.  Attending a World Series or a winter meetings with Ozzie was to see him hugging, kissing and laughing with the ushers, security personnel, others in baseball, opposing players, you name it.  It is a rare ability and not many people can claim it.   Ozzie can in spades.

I always cite a couple of examples when people ask about what it is like to work with Ozzie.  A couple of years ago, during spring training, I skipped a road game in Phoenix (vs. the Athletics) to take my family to Sedona.  My cell rang on the morning drive up.  It was Ozzie.

“We need to do something,” he said, aggitated/excitedly. 

“What happened?”  I answered (I asked that a lot over eight years).

“For Oakland.  The shooting.  We need to do something.”

It took me some time but I was finally able to figure out what Ozzie was talking about.  He had seen that an Oakland police officer had been killed the night before during a routine traffic stop.  And he knew we were playing the A’s that day.

If memory serves me, Ozzie wore an Oakland Police Department hat that day in Phoenix and commented to the media about the respect and role the police play in our society.  It was classic Ozzie.  He was aware.  He cared.  He wanted to act and he knew the positive impact he could have for others.

Another example came one year during SoxFest.

Ozzie was in the suite talking to an ESPN Magazine reporter about young Latin players and drug testing.  We listened to his end of the conversation, admittedly a bit on edge.  This topic could be trouble.

As he finished the conversation, Ozzie turned to me and said, “We need to do something.”  Right then and there, we decided on a plan to have him tape a video message, in Spanish, about the importance of drug testing.  Working with MLB we had copies of Ozzie’s message sent to each of the 30 organizations where it could be shown to their young Latin players who may have not been aware of the rules, penalties or the importance of drug testing.

People have talked about his appeal to various media, local, international and nationally.  Certainly, our local media will miss his not-to-be-believed daily dugout sessions, made-to-order stories and quotes and of course, some of the drama.  Internationally, no one was a bigger draw, and this too might change a little based on our next manager, although a team with a rich Latin history of Carrasquel, Aparicio, Guillen and Minoso will always garner attention.  Nationally, I felt that Ozzie never was understood the way Chicago understood him.  Nationally, he was always stereotyped as the loud mouth, with controversy constantly swirling around him.  Some of that was deserved, but I always felt he was misperceived by being viewed only in this role.  That was one of the reasons I liked the idea of him offering commentary on FOX during the World Series.  I liked the idea of Ozzie having a national, even international, stage to show people his love and understanding for the game.  Not enough people saw him in that way as opposed to the SportsCenter, what-did-he-say-this-time bit.

So while the public might think of Ozzie and all the glaring headlines or the controversies, I also chose to remember all of the many, many facets Ozzie delivered — some good, some arguably bad — often in a whirlwind (hurricane, he would say), often in a bi-lingual stream-of-consciousness and always with passion.

Some have thrown the word irrelevant at the White Sox now that Ozzie has departed.  I certainly do not agree.  Hundreds of thousands of White Sox fans certainly don’t agree.  I will miss Ozzie, but it was time for everyone.  I am looking forward to our choice as his replacement.  It will turn the page to a brand new chapter of our book. 

 

 

9 Comments

Scott, as always, thanks for taking the time to update us. Out of the mouths of babes, right?
I also was so happy to read your impression and thoughts on Ozzie’s departure. Your stories, much like Ozzie himself, are amusing and multi-faceted.
Looking forward to changes and a new season..
-Dawn

Robin Ventura, huh? Well, congrats to Kenny on shocking the all-knowing media on that one.

Congratulations to Robin and best of luck to a great player and a great representative of the White Sox.

I am one of those that wasn’t too concerned about who the Sox hired. The most important pieces to a championship puzzle are the ones that play on the field. I’m sure Robin will do just fine but he will not be able to hit anymore of his patented grand slams (I think he finished with something like 18) as a manager.

Now that this piece of business is done, let’s see what happens with Buehrle and others and get ready for pitchers and catchers to report to Glendale.

Thank you for the update, Scott, and welcome “home” to Robin Ventura!

I have a fun story about Robin. Years ago, I went to a dental appointment wearing some White Sox gear. The hygienist said “I have a friend who plays for the Sox, but no one knows him.” I asked who her friend was, and she said, “Robin Ventura.” I think my reaction surprised her, when I said, “What do you mean, no one knows him??!! He’s a gold-glove third baseman and a terrific hitter!”
She said, “Oh, you really are a fan!”

Go Sox ’12!!

Funny how Scott lambasted the Sun-Times for predicting Ozzie was going to leave, and it turns out they nailed it. Open mouth, insert foot, huh Scott? But you’re used to that.

Robin Ventura?? I did not see that one coming. I always loved him as a player but I never thought the Sox whould hire someone with no experience. Oh well. I wish Robin and the Sox good luck next year.

Ventura’s hire definitely caught me by surprise. On the plus side, he was a great leader as a player and hopefully that translates into success as a manager. On the down side, he has little managerial experience. It seems to me his hire might have served only to have a new “face” for the organization. He’s definitely the complete opposite of Ozzie. But even though he has little experience, he will have Cooper and Baines behind him, so that will help. Either way, it will be good to see him back in a White Sox uniform. Go White Sox ’12!

come on Scott. Guillen quit on the team months ago. “he has the ability to fill any room with excitement”… yah except for his own clubhouse and dugout. The guy should have been fired three years ago. Then in his Marlins press conference he said him and his family had been talking about the Marlins gig for a few years. To hell with ozzie.

I never liked the guy and I was proven right. He was way more about “ozzie” than he was about the white sox. Can’t wait to see him flame out in miami. starting rob mackowiak in center field… really? should have been fired the day he decided to do that.

and what is with the goofy sox team as a whole. Us fans had to watch them play like complete trash the entire season and after the last game of this awful year there was 500 kids lining a the dugout to wave, catch a ball or something like they do every year at the end of the season. instead a security guard came out and tossed a few balls to the crowd and said the team isn’t coming out. what a joke.

I agree Kenwo, Ozzie gave up quite a while ago. I believe the rift between Ozzie and Kenny, made Ozzie do his best to make Kenny look bad. Miami was a plan for next year all along.
I like the idea of Ventura, I see better things 2012.

Here’s my monthly: Howdy and I’m doing fine out here in Tucson…. Hope all is well with all my buddies around the Country. Happy Halloween everyone….Go Sox’12….j.k.

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