The only entertaining thing to come out of the south side of Chicago the past two years has decided to take his act on the road to Florida. Ozzie Guillen, the self described “John Travolta of Venezuela” and “Charlie Sheen of baseball — minus the drugs and prostitutes” has been released from his contract with the White Sox and will reportedly be the manager of the Florida Marlins next season.
Guillen cemented his legacy in the city by bringing home a World Series title in 2005, the White Sox first since 1917. They went 99-63 and took the AL Central division title. Led by Paul Konerko and Joe Crede on offense, and Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras on the mound, the White Sox steamrolled through the playoffs, winning 11 of 12 games, including sweeping the Houston Astros in the World Series 4-0.
But a title will only buy you so much time. A never-ending love/hate relationship with GM Kenny Williams, a mouth with no choke, a son who didn’t fall far from the tree and two straight underachieving seasons all added up to a man who had worn out his welcome. At least in the eyes of management.
Even with the World Series win, Ozzie will be best remembered for his colorful rants and quotes. Some of my personal favorites:
On former Sun-Times sports writer Jay Mariotti:
“He’s a garbage. He’s always been a garbage. And he will die a garbage.”
On his death:
“I hope I die on the field. I hope when I walk to change the pitcher, I drop dead and that’s it. I know my family would be so happy that it happened on the field. They wouldn’t feel bad because that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
On the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia:
“That kid should be in the circus and I have to walk him to face someone else. He should be riding some horses and I have to walk that kid. It’s very weird when you walk a guy who is 4-foot-11.”
On remembering Sparky Anderson:
“Sparky Anderson intentionally walked me twice in my career to pitch to Sammy Sosa. Yes, the same Sammy Sosa who hit over 600 home runs — although back then he still had his Jheri curl and was a little darker (hahaha).”
On Wrigley Field:
“But one thing about Wrigley Field, I puke every time I go there. That’s just to be honest.”
And my all time favorite, on Wrigley Field again:
“You are going to take batting practice and the rats look bigger than a pig out there. You want to take a look? I think the rats out there are lifting weights.”
Ozzie will be missed by both White Sox and Cubs fans alike. The Windy City feels a little less windy today.