Monday, November 21, 2005

OZZIE GUILLEN: THE RIGHT CANDIDATE TO BE NAMED SI SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Ozzie Guillen managed the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years. That was the time when Oswaldo "Ozzie" Guillen was mocked by White Sox GM Ken Williams in late 2003 when he offered his services for the manager’s job. Williams said that Cito Gaston was the clear front-runner for the job and that the former White Sox shortstop had to sell himself if he wanted the post. Guillen told Williams to go to hell. That was a bizarre but a start of a dodgy relation between the White Sox and Guillen that eventually emerged out as a success. His team went out and played the kind of hustling, fundamentally sound baseball that would look just as good in black and white. Like any other relation this relation also had its share of ups and downs. Guillen managed the team by gut and not like a spreadsheet. He emphasizes pitching, defense, baserunning and bunting due to which his White Sox capably threw four straight complete games during an 11-1 postseason run. When Chicago completed an unlikely Series sweep, Guillen quietly watched his players pile onto the field from the third-base coaching box, not wanting to disrespect Astros manager Phil Garner by jumping into the scrimmage. He is the first foreign-born manager to win a World Series who now represents the most international of American pro sports. Guillen took back the trophy to his native Venezuela where he was treated as a conquering hero, complete with parades, fireworks and a sitdown with the U.S. ambassador.

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