Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Should Probably Address the Ozzie Thing

The Ozzie Guillen era on the South Side of Chicago is over, so since one of the first posts I ever wrote for the old Is It Sports? site was called Ozzieball 2005, I figured I should probably address the Ozzie Guillen situation...

Needless to say, it was a very interesting 8 years. The huge moment that stands out for me that will always give Ozzie a place in my heart is the 2005 World Series title, where he was the first manager to guide the Sox to the title since a guy who was named Pants Rowland. Another part that made Ozzie fun to have as a manager were his crazy tirades, which were usually 1) Fun, 2) directed toward the Cubs, which Sox fans love to hear, and 3) gave the Sox some national media attention, actually even diverting ESPN from covering only the Yankees and Red Sox for a few minutes every month. The crazy tirades didn't bother me that much. I think when a professional athlete/coach says something stupid, it doesn't really reflect that poorly on the team or the fan base, unlike a college player or coach, where you could say, "these are the kind of students and coaches that this educational institution want to be associated with?". (Yes, I'm talking about Danny Hope here)

On the downside of things, after winning the World Series in 2005, the Sox were very up and down. After an impressive season where they came up just short of the playoffs in 2006, they sucked in 2007, won the Central with a bad record in 2008, sucked in 2009, finished with a winning record after sucking for the first half of 2010, and sucked in 2011. What does this mean? I'm not really sure actually. I haven't really decided after 29 years of watching baseball and 23 years of being old enough to understand it how much difference a manager makes. For example, the White Sox had a ton of injuries in 2007 and the Indians were actually good. In 2008, the entire Central was terrible and the Sox managed to float to the top. In 2011, the Sox roster was filled with underachieving, overpaid losers that Kenny Williams randomly signed or traded for. Were the injuries in 2007 or the horrible roster moves of 2011 Ozzie's fault? Nope. Should Ozzie get credit for winning the 2008 Central title when everyone else sucked? probably not. Are the White Sox totally screwed or much better off now that they lost their World Series manager? I doubt it.

If anything, Kenny Williams should probably be fired for taking a middle of the pack in salary World Series winning team and changing it into a sub-.500 team with a bloated payroll being wasted on injury prone or completely ineffectual players (see: Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn, and even though he is gone, the horrible Edwin Jackson trade). I feel like the championship made him feel like he could do no wrong over the past few years.

One possible positive outcome from this is that .260 career hitter and current hitting coach Greg Walker decided to resign today, which could actually have a positive impact considering how little help Dunn and Rios seem to be getting. That could have an even bigger impact to the Sox than the loss of a manager.

Ozzie leaving for the money is kind of crazy, especially considering that he said he can't do this forever like a doctor or a lawyer. As a manager, he could have just as long of a career as long as he wins, but I probably shouldn't be trying to rationalize anything Ozzie says. For the Marlins, it will get them some media attention that they need in the year that they are moving into a new stadium. For Ozzie, it's a shorter flight to Venezuela and there is little to no pressure to win like there is in Chicago, so it's probably a good move for him. Hell, even the Sox got 2 prospects from the Marlins out of this.

So we'll see what happens. The White Sox will still be the White Sox, a team that is usually right around .500, finishes in 2nd place, and occasionally will have a 90 win or 70 win season, and life will go on. I'm just hoping I don't need to wait too long before the next World Series manager comes along.

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