Guillen tossed from home opener
White Sox manager ejected for arguing balls and strikes
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen has already announced to the baseball world that he intends to return to his old fiery, shoot-from-the-hip style of managing this season, which served him so well before the toned down version of Guillen appeared in 2007.
Even this new unfiltered Guillen has limitations, though.
The White Sox manager was ejected for the 13th time in his career during Monday's 7-4 victory over the Twins in the home opener at U.S. Cellular Field. Guillen exited in the third inning, courtesy of Phil Cuzzi, the same umpire who gave Guillen his 12th career ejection in the first inning of a 16-3 loss to the Yankees in New York on July 31, 2007.
Following that particular ejection, Guillen let loose on a diatribe directed at Cuzzi. On Monday, with the White Sox in the midst of their best run in two years, Guillen chose to stay quiet in order not to let down his team.
Well, Guillen almost made it through the postgame interview session without a shot at Monday's home-plate umpire.
"I'm not going to waste my time talking about that guy," said Guillen. "One thing about this business, we're playing real well right now and if I say exactly what's on my mind, I might lose a couple of days and I don't want to do that to this ballclub.
"We're playing good. I need to be there for them. I already did what I did, but it's one thing about baseball. Now, every time you say something you feel, you let the club down. I'm going to keep it to myself."
Guillen argued from the dugout on a called second strike on Paul Konerko made by Cuzzi, and by the time Guillen took his second step from said dugout, Cuzzi had given Guillen the old heave-ho. Cuzzi actually ejected both Guillen and Konerko for arguing balls and strikes last season at Yankee Stadium.
Reacting the way he did on Monday might have cost Guillen a few dollars. It also earned him an extra dose of respect from his players.
"Ozzie's our leader and he's the guy that's going to control what happens in the dugout and on the field," White Sox third baseman Joe Crede said. "He's a guy that really makes us feel loose out there, especially in the clubhouse and in the dugout. That's one of the biggest things that everybody rallies around is the fact that he's always joking around and keeping guys loose out there. You can't help but want to go out there and have fun and play the game."
"I'm here for my players," Guillen added. "If I think my players didn't get the right call, then it's my job to protect them. I didn't like a couple calls and I went out. If I have to contribute to Major League Baseball a lot of money, I have $100,000 on the side to pay."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.