Ozzie clarifies Saturday's diatribe
White Sox skipper preaching professionalism
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen has nothing against football.
In fact, he made a point of congratulating the Bears and coach Lovie Smith earlier this week for their Sept. 20 victory over Pittsburgh.
So, Saturday's postgame diatribe unleashed by Guillen was not completely about his White Sox players watching college football on television following an embarrassing 12-5 loss to Detroit in which they allowed 12 unanswered runs after taking a five-run lead.
As Guillen explained during Sunday morning's 20-minute pregame media session, his anger and frustration stem more from the idea of a right and a wrong way to conduct yourself as a Major League Baseball player.
"Listen, I have [Alexei] Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and I got [Chris] Getz," Guillen said. "I have [Tyler] Flowers. I have seven or eight kids, and the problem we have in baseball is that the people who run this thing, they let players do whatever they want to do, and that's why they do whatever they want to do.
"My job is to teach those kids that it is not the way to do it. I never tell my players what to do or how to prepare yourself, but when you lose a game and all of a sudden you look around and they are watching another thing, that means you are teaching the kids, 'Don't worry about it, this is the big leagues. If we lose a game, who cares? We are out of the pennant race.'
"I have to teach these kids it's not the way we should handle this stuff," Guillen said. "If I let that thing go away, then I don't have the power and the right to tell the kids in the future what to do because it was like, 'Well, two years ago, you let them do it.'"
Guillen has never been the sort of manager to preach silence after even the toughest of losses. During his first game as manager of the White Sox on April 5, 2004, in Kansas City, the Royals scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to complete a stunning rally for a 9-7 victory.
After the Opening Day setback, it was Guillen who walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium, turned up the music and told his team to be ready for the next game. On the other hand, few people take losses as tough as the White Sox manager.
Factor in Guillen's perception centered on his team brushing off Saturday's debacle as playing out the string, and his rant came more from the attitude than the football games.
"Watching a football game? I never said anything about watching a football game," Guillen said. "When you're stupid, pick who's going to win this week, who's not. I don't get involved with that because I respect that. But when you lose a game and you were embarrassed by the other ballclub, to me, I don't care who's there. That's the way it's going to be.
"If nobody wants to play for me, so be it. Whoever plays for me, he's going to respect this game. He's going to go about the business the right way, and I don't think last night was the right way to show me about the way we go about our business.
"As soon as the game's over they're worried about who's winning in college, who's the best quarterback," Guillen said. "Who [cares]? Respect the game, respect your teammates, respect people paying."
With Sunday serving as Fan Appreciation Day, Guillen made a point of thanking the White Sox faithful for their support -- especially down this tough closing stretch. He also promised that the White Sox would be playing hard and approaching the game the right way over the final six contests in Cleveland and Detroit.
Otherwise, Guillen will not be afraid to speak out about his team once again.
"It's not only this clubhouse, every clubhouse in baseball," Guillen said. "That's my problem. I don't have a problem with the players, I've got a problem with baseball and baseball doesn't handle it the right way.
"My plan is to see those kids grow up and manage the White Sox for a little while. Believe me, anyone who is going to play for this organization, they are going to learn how to be a professional and how to handle things the right way. I see it around the game, players do whatever they want to do.
"Maybe I made mistakes I didn't even know about as a player," Guillen said. "But all the problems we have in the game are because we don't have people to step up and say it and do it, and that's not the way. Believe me. I grew up a different way. I grew up. When you lose, it hurts. You are embarrassed. That taught me the respect for the game."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.