FOX’s pre-game World Series coverage along with the recently published stories
about how he was coveted by the Florida Marlins, a very familiar thought comes
to mind: The White Sox need No. 13 and we should be thrilled to have him as
Why, you say? Here are 13 reasons why.
1. The White Sox, one of baseball’s most anonymous teams
despite a world title five years ago and an A.L. Central crown in 2008, need a
national standard bearer and Ozzie is it. Without him the Sox would be even
more invisible on the national stage. His TV gig helps put the Sox square in
the spotlight, though we all agree it pales in comparison to the South Siders
actually being in the Fall Classic.
2. Ozzie is one of our own and wants to be in Chicago with
the Sox. While he played briefly for the Rays, Orioles and Braves and coached
for the Expos and Marlins, he’s White Sox through and through and understands
the South Side mentality.
3. Despite the national obsession with sensationalizing
his controversial episodes and ignoring his managerial skills, Ozzie is an
excellent skipper. From taking the heat off of his players to his in-game
strategy to keeping his players loose, he’s one of the most underrated field
managers in baseball.
4. Part of being a good manager is showing faith in your
players. Although he’s painfully straightforward and honest to a fault, Ozzie
consistently supports his troops, whether boosting the morale of a player in a
slump or letting a starting pitcher go the extra inning.
5. He’s funnier than any comedian I can think of. Win or lose,
it’s always a treat to listen to Ozzie’s pre-game and post-game analysis–not to mention hearing his views of the world.
6. Ozzie has always shown reverence and appreciation for
his mentors and those who paved the way for him. For instance, he has often
extolled the virtue of recently retired Braves manager Bobby Cox and has been
respectful of the long line of Venezuelan shortstops that preceded him, such
Chico Carrasquel, Luis Aparicio and Dave Concepcion. I also saw Ozzie beam with
great pride during the ’05 Series when the great Latin American players were
7. I’ve always
liked Ozzie’s fearlessness. Whether it’s criticizing an umpire, chiding the
self-important Buck Showalter or, in his playing days, trying to cut Frank
Thomas’s ego down to size, he fears no one.
8. While Ozzie is
extremely loyal to his coaches and staff, he hasn’t let that get in the way of
doing what’s best for the team. For instance, he let go of coaches Tim Raines
and Razor Shines, who Guillen apparently felt weren’t up to the task.
9. In addition to
making the tough calls on coaches, Ozzie has also helped get rid of players who
weren’t as committed as he would have liked them to be. Carlos Lee comes to
10. Ozzie has been
known to be generous. When he was
a player I was present when he told a few of the White Sox staff during a road
trip to go to a particular New York City tailor and order new suits–with his
11. Ozzie loves his family and countries, two noble qualities. He’s obviously a great Dad and while he couldn’t be prouder of his Venezuelan heritage, he was equally as proud on the day he and his family became American citizens (pictured above).
12. Ozzie has been
very active in the community and it appears he sincerely likes giving back–from
his foundation to the substantial Sox volunteer efforts to his Easter Seals
13. On a personal note, I had a nice encounter with Ozzie about
a year after I presented him with a framed picture of his family that appeared
in Sports Illustrated. I was in the White Sox clubhouse and Ozzie glanced at
me, trying to remember who I was. I reminded him that I was the guy from SI who
gave him the framing. He came over, hugged me and told me to go in his office
to look at it. I thought that gesture said a lot about Ozzie as a person and
another reason why we need him in a White Sox uniform.