If only the Chicago Bears weren't playing one of the biggest games in NFL history this weekend, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen might own the show. Not only is there a roast being held tonight in Ozzie's honor, but Soxfest kicks off today, promising plenty of good cheer and pep-rally histrionics for a team well-positioned to make a run at the AL Central crown this year. Let's get up to speed on all things Ozzie.
Earlier this week, our very own George Castle wrote this feature calling on Guillen to put the smack down (figuratively speaking, of course) on his tweet-happy son Oney, whose Twitter-based attack on former closer Bobby Jenks put the sanctity of the Sox clubhouse in dire jeopardy. Well, Ozzie has responded to George's cries (and everyone's, really), telling the Sun-Times today:
When Oney [tweeted] that, the only thing I was upset about [was] clubhouse stuff. He grew up in baseball, and he knows the clubhouse stuff — whatever happens in there, everybody knows. . . . In the past, our clubhouse was a temple. Now you can do what you want to do and people find out what happened in the clubhouse. That’s not the first time it happened.
Problem is, it's not really clear from Guillen's quote whether he actually scolded or somehow punished Oney for his actions. So I suppose that's all left up to our imagination. In fact, based on another quote that popped up today, the matter doesn't seem particularly settled at all.
ESPN's Doug Padilla quotes Ozzie as saying:
[Oney] was sad and he was upset. I was happy because I was on the boat and he called me and said he talked to Bobby. I don't know if it's the truth or not. I don't know if he said that to make me feel better or they [really] talked.
Great, so Ozzie's publicly questioning his own son's honesty. That's not exactly reassuring us that the next White Sox Twittergate is a distant possibility and the clubhouse door is shut for good. Obviously, we wouldn't expect the manager to give a blow-by-blow account of his interactions with his son on the matter. But a simple, "We talked it over and I feel confident nothing of the sort will happen again," would've made us feel much more comfortable.
Honestly, Ozzie seems more upset about the criticism that Bobby Jenks directed at him than he does over his son's actions. That's understandable to a point -- Jenks did speak out of turn and made public statements that probably should've been kept in the clubhouse himself. But Oney's actions could threaten the team going forward; whereas anything the former closer says is bulletin board material at best.
Getting back to baseball, Ozzie also revealed that defensively challenged slugger Adam Dunn may be putting on his first baseman's glove more often than many fans have anticipated. Guillen told Padilla, "I don’t want to say twice a week, three times a week. It depends on who is pitching, lefty or righty. But he will be at first base more than people think." Ozzie cited the need to manage the fatigue that wore on first baseman Paul Konerko last season as a reason for more Dunn on the not-so-hot corner.
And in another comment that may cast some concern about the team's defense, Ozzie seemed to imply that he's open to trying 21-year-old power hitter Dayan Viciedo in right field. "He was an outfielder before," said Ozzie. "This kid was in right field in Cuba and he never played third base." Then again, Guillen did quickly follow that up with a joke about Viciedo needing a golf cart to get out to the outfield.
The Sun-Times article mentioned above also notes that Ozzie isn't just giving the third baseman's job to defensive whiz, 23-year-old prospect Brent Morel. Mark Teahen, whose generally considered less effective defensively, still has a shot at snagging the position out of spring training.
So, all in all, Sox fans should have a lot to talk about this weekend. As you can see, Ozzie's in town and he's just getting started. Look for coverage of Soxfest right here on SB Nation Chicago as well as on South Side Sox.