Black Jack

Ozzie's fault for the season?

  Ozzie Guillen recently commented that he would assume all the blame for the Sox collapse and mediocrity this season.  But whether you believe him, care about it, think that's admirable etc. is not the point of interest here.
  Ozzie's comments seem to slam home an idea I have thought about for quite some time.  I feel that this generation of managers and the generation to follow will be the best in the history of baseball.

   In past generations, former players have stuck around the game as a source of income.  They weren't able to earn big dollars during their careers, so consequently, they stuck around as best they could and climbed the ladder of coaching.

   Even a mediocre player these days is all but guaranteed an early retirement if his career has any length at all.  When these players are finished, they won't need the money.  They will return to the game because of their love for the game and will stick for their expertise.  They will not make moves to cover their asses as much as in the past because they won't care if they get fired!

   This is the sentiment Ozzie portrayed in his recent comments.  He doesn't care about anything but winning.  He's not going to point fingers to cover his butt.  he does this because he loves the game and consequently, that will make him a far better manager than if he didn't have his past earnings to fall back on.  This is a trend that is already happening, and will continue to happen.  This dynamic will create a far stronger pool of managers overall.

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12 Comments

webegeek said:

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Jack, let me ask you this, concerning Ozzie, managing and coaching.

The lack of fundamentals shown by many players when compared to teams like the Twins is a never ending frustration for many of us. Isn't that reflective of the coaching staff?

I can forgive the mistakes Beckham made learning the position of third base, but other than Getz and Paulie on the field at a few batters, we don't field well, we don't run bases well, we don't bunt well (though we have gotten a lot better bunting lately it seems), we don't move runners along.

I know it's up to players to execute, but isn't there a lack of focus on fundamentals on this team?

I also question Ozzie's use of the bullpen. Like last night, why take Thorton out and bring in Pena?

Your thoughts?

Jack McDowell said:

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It's too late to "teach" fundamentals at the big league level. it's about managing personalities and the game. Fundamentals are taught in youth ball and in the minor leagues.
Bullpen use is tough these days. In my day it was the goal to use as few pitchers as possible in a game. Now everyone is reeled into the "situational" moves which I believe is horrible. When you have to count on 5 pitchers to get THEIR job done every night, there will be far more failures along the way.

webegeek said:

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this might be a stupid question, but do the players still play "pepper"?

Jason Gage said:

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I think you bring up an excellent point Jack. The fundementals need to be taught at the minor league level and they should be a focal point all the way up until the major league level.

The Sox hadn't done that in recent years, but that has changed since Buddy Bell took ownership of the farm-system and I predict we'll see a new era of Sox prospect reach the major leagues.

We've already seen Gordon Beckham, but he's a phenom. The next wave are Hudson, Danks 2, Viciedo, and Tyler Flowers.

PawsOut said:

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The only thing about Ozzie that irritates me is his unwillingness to accept his lot. This team can't bunt, yet he constantly sends them out to do so. Why set them up for failure? Especially considering that no one on this team has ever singled home a run from second, so why bother moving the guy over?

That being said, I'm a big fan of Ozzie. I think his personality helps the team win more than any particular strategic moves he could make. I chalk this season up to a bad team playing as expected. Our defense stunk (not Ozzie's fault) and our hitting stunk (not Ozzie's fault). Sure he can blame himself, but we all know it's just his usual attempt at deflecting criticism away from his million dollar babies.

Make some moves in the offseason and see let's what happens with that four headed monster starting games for us. I like our odds throughout a whole season, but success on paper means nothing if the players don't preform.

Rick S said:

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I think your theory is interesting and probably true. As for Ozzie's "take the blame" comments, they had zero substance. It was just a salve for his underperforming players. If he really wanted to take the blame, he should have cited specific things he mismanaged.

The team's lack of fundamentals is appalling. How much of that is Ozzie's fault? Hard to say. In one of your earlier posts, you mentioned those things need to be taught in the minors. That seems logical as you shouldn't be teaching ML players how to bunt. I can only hope that being the worst defense in the league and one of the poorest situational hitting teams will cause them to retool their approach.

Ozzie's game management is erratic. He likes to go with his gut. He always seems to leave his starters in too long to save the bullpen. I understand that he wants to save his relief staff, but this approach seems to backfire too often. I agree 1000% with the above poster who couldn't understand why Ozzie brought in Pena last night for Thornton. Pena has been garbage since he arrived. With only 20-odd games left, can the team afford to take the risk of putting him in a game we nearly had won? I could understand if this was April or May and you don't want to overuse your best reliever in Thornton, but not with the season quite nearly over. Is getting one more guy going to tear Matt's rotator cuff? He used to be a starter a few years ago. In the end, Ozzie not only ends up overworking his bullpen through the extra innings, he nearly blows the game and the season which is hanging by the thinnest of threads.

lesnessman said:

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Ozzie quote in the US Today a couple years back:
"I think we are way underpaid for the amount of responsibility we have," said Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who made $1.1 million in 2007. "It doesn't matter how much baseball managers and coaches are getting, they're not getting paid enough."
Love of the game???????

lesnessman said:

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Wait...as you said before, "I am not done with you yet."
Your idea that players from your era that stick around are doing it for the love of the game and have no fear of being fired is flat out false.
Former player managers, talk show hosts, bloggers, color guys, autograph hawkers, etc., as a general rule, do what they do for money OR notoriety. They retire young, and whether they have a ton of money in the bank or not, they miss being "the man."
Honestly, Jack, I like you and read your blog because you know baseball; but I cannot agree with you on this one.

sthsideaussie said:

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Nor can I. Almost all managers are on a ride to getting fired from the moment they sign on, always have been always will. I also don't believe all the old guys did the job just for the dough. There was a lot of love for the game and passion for what they did back then too. Alston's 20 odd 1 year contracts is one example. Also the work on fundamentals arguments don't hold water either. If it's important it needs to be worked on. All sportsperson need to work on skills to keep them sharp. Golfers don't just play, they spend enormous amounts of time on the practice tees and greens. My guess is that other things are just stressed more. I have also heard the adage that when a sportsperson is having a bad patch they go back to basics/fundamentals to get straightened out. All the fundamental things the Sox have not been able to execute over the last few years have to be linked to lack of stressing these things.

Chicago Expatriate said:

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I can think of nothing in life today off the top of my head that is the best it's ever been. Other than technology, that keeps marching onward whether we are ready or not. I appreciate what Ozzie has been able to accomplish. Something Jimmy Dykes, Al Lopez, Chuck Tanner, Tony LaRussa among others failed to do. That being said, Ozzie is not amongh the very best of is peers, and his peers don't separate themselves from those that came before them.

UGODOG said:

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Ozzie needs to go to Florida or California where he can live his dream manage an all Hispanic Team,, Personally, I'm tired of his act..and please take idiot Pinella with..

PawsOut said:

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White Sox starting Lineup:
Scott Podsednik (white)
Gordon Beckham (white)
AJ Pier.... (white)
Paul Konerko (white)
Carlos Quentin (Hispanic last name, but very, very American)
Jermaine Dye (black / bad)
Alexei Ramirez (Cuban)
Alex Rios (Latin / bad)
Nix / Getz (white / white)

Buehrle (white)
Floyd (white)
Danks (white)
Peavy (white)
Contreras / Garcia / Colon (Cuban / Venezuelan / Fat)
(2 out of 3 - bad)

Linebrink (white / bad)
Pena (Latin / bad)
Jenks (white / bad)
Carrasco (white)
Thornton (white)

By my count that's 6 out of 22 players that weren't born in this country. 2 of those players aren't on this team anymore so it's 4 of 20 or 20 percent. Maybe the problem with this team is the overabundance of bad players and not hispanic ones?

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