Wednesday, June 21, 2006

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

Ozzie Guillen's unique gift of gab

Ozzie Guillen is the manager of the Chicago White Sox, and congenitally incapable of going two days without doing or saying something controversial.

Last week he got into hot water in a game against the Texas Rangers because Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was hit by pitches twice in the game. Sean Tracey, a White Sox rookie, was in the game with instructions to drill Texas' Hank Blalock. He didn't do it (he tried, but darnit, he got Blalok to ground out). TV cameras showed Guillen screaming at Tracey in the dugout. Tracey apparently broke into tears and was sent to the minors the next day.

That's nothing, however, compared to his latest screw-up. explains:

On Tuesday to reporters, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen referred to Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Around the Horn contributor Jay Mariotti as a derogatory name for a homosexual.

Angry with a recent column by Mariotti critical of Guillen's handling of recently demoted relief pitcher Sean Tracey and upset with Mariotti with columns of the past, Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday's game with the Cardinals, "What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag."

Sports columnist Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times puts this latest statement in context -- and then gives Guillen enough rope to hang himself:
The issue is that Guillen said the wrong thing, and he does it often and it never sticks to him. That's just Ozzie, we hear. And the Sox tend to chuckle about this stuff, as if we can just forgive him. Why? Because English is his second language?

Not good enough. Last year in New York, he referred to someone as homosexual and a child molester, equating the two.

He took some heat for that one, briefly. So he should have known.

Guillen is not dumb. Let's not insult him. He knows what he's saying, and he certainly knows that it's not acceptable. He has been in this country for a quarter of a century. This offseason, I went to his swearing-in as a U.S. citizen....

After the game, I told Guillen what I was planning to say here, and I gave him a chance to explain. Here's what he said:

"I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.''

Guillen said that in Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing]."....

He also said that he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago. (emphasis added)

Wait a minute, he attends WNBA games? He gets a pass from me then!!

Seriously, to answer Couch's question -- the reason people tolerate Guillen in Chicago is that his team is winning. The moment that changes, Guillen, like Billy Martin before him, will quickly get frogmarched out of town.

What is it about managers of Chicago baseball teams, anyway?

UPDATE: Ozzie apologizes -- in an Ozzie kind of way:

Before Wednesday night’s game, Guillen acknowledged that his use of the word might have offended some.

“I shouldn’t have mentioned the name that was mentioned, but I’m not going to back off of Jay,” Guillen said, using another profanity to describe Mariotti.

“The word I used, I should have used something different. A lot of people’s feelings were hurt and I didn’t mean it that way.”

Guillen said he had spoken to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf about the incident.

“Jay, I think I made this guy a lot of money and he’s famous. If not for Ozzie Guillen, no one would have heard of him,” Guillen said. “If I hurt anybody with what I called him, I apologize.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mariotti responds in his Thursday column:
I can shrug it off as an occupational hazard, knowing I'm called meaner things at the coffee stand every morning. I also know it places me on an extraordinarily long list of people the Blizzard has dissed or launched into, including Magglio ("Venezuelan [bleep]'') Ordonez, Buck Showalter, Phil Garner, Sean Tracey, the Los Angeles Angels, every American League umpire, the reporter he threatened to rub out last winter and, by not showing up at the White House for a ceremony, the President of the United States.

Ozzie? He makes Mark Cuban seem like Virginia McCaskey.

But I am not the story here in the latest chapter of OzFest, a farce that is averaging two new targets a week and will have another co-star as soon as tonight. The story is Guillen's mouth and the warped diatribes of a man who thinks slurs are an acceptable means of retaliation in American life, like one of his dugout-ordered purpose pitches. Twice in less than a year, Guillen has dropped derogatory homosexual terms in his public dealings as White Sox manager. Last year at Yankee Stadium, he claimed to be greeting a friend warmly when he said, "Hey, everybody, this guy's a homosexual! He's a child molester!'' Two New York-area columnists took offense, as they should have, and so did I -- the only writer in Chicago who did, which is often how it works in a town softer and more politically driven by the sports franchises than a genuinely tough, independent sports media town such as Boston....

The time has come for a two-week suspension, long enough for human sensibility and decency to kick in. It's more important the Sox send a message about what they stand for than what Guillen's absence might mean in a pennant race. Let Ozzie think about life a little. Send him out for some professional sensitivity training, not what is being attempted by unskilled shrinks in the public-relations office. Tell him why it's fine to admonish a media person all he wants -- a critic should accept criticism, naturally -- as long as Guillen doesn't step over the line and slur gay groups. Most importantly, explain what happened to Schott, Al Campanis and Jimmy "The Greek'' Snyder when they made insensitive comments.

Eric Wilbur thinks Mariotti is being too kind to Boston beat writers.

posted by Dan on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM


WNBA games! That is too funny. Now I know why I miss Chicago.

posted by: Lex on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Mariotti is a f'n fag.

The reason why Ozzie is tolerated

1) He's a good manager
2) The players still respond to him
3) He gets the players to play as a team
4) He doesn't sugar coat anything.

Jay's response is the typical chickenshit article thathe's famous for...

posted by: Kostoglotov on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

I think you fail to mention that a whole lot of people use an expression like "Drezner, quit being a fag."

While people who can be quite accepting that you might indeed be a fag, that doesn't preclude them from making fun of faggots. I'm assuming this guy isn't a fag. Ozzie was just making a derogatory remark about him. In the process he made fun of faggots.

posted by: Chad on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Look at this from an economic perspective. ;-)

Who shows up at games, and who watches them on TV? The vast majority of those fans not only don't care about his un-PC comments, they make the same sort of remarks themselves.

So, despite the fact that he's getting roundly condemned in the general media, it isn't going to affect the White Sox bottom line. So, as others have pointed out, he'll be there until he starts losing (Which will affect the BL).

email is human readable - aloud

posted by: Bud on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

At least Mariotti's consistent. His lack of sports knowledge is obvious in everything he writes. The guy is clueless.

posted by: anthony on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

If all there was to read was Mariotti then I would pray to be struck illiterate.

posted by: jim on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Playing the offended homosexual card is getting almost as tiresome as the race card. I'm offended that MLB fined Guillen for the remarks. Is anyone going to apologize to me? (I didn't think so.)

posted by: Big Frank on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Mariotti is not the victim here. It's gays all over America who were slurred by the insinuation that Mariotti is one of them.

posted by: Moqui on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Gay people were the last thing on Ozzie's mind when he made the remark - and if you think otherwise, you're so naive that you probably thought it was Cliff Barnes who shot J.R. Ewing on "Dallas" 25 years ago!

And if Jay Mariotti doesn't like our First Amendement guarantees of free speech, perhaps he should cover sports in a country whose authoritarianism he would find more to his liking - such as North Korea.

If I ever had the chance to say something to Ozzie Guillen directly, I would hijack a line that Bernie Mac used in the movie "House Party 3": "Just be yourself. If people don't like you if you're being yourself, fuck 'em! Fuck 'em against the wall - with handcuffs on, and Crazy Glue on their lips. Fuck 'em!"

posted by: Anthony on 06.21.06 at 10:50 PM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?