Dear lord, do I love Ozzie Guillen. If, for no other reason, than because he says what everyone else thinks but which no one in an official position besides him ever, ever says. Things like this, which Brent Ballantini of CSN Chicago reports Guillen said about White Sox reliever Will Ohman, who has had a rough go of it in the season’s first week:
“He’s here—I have to use him. We’ve got only 11 pitchers. I don’t have the luxury to [matchup Ohman to lefties]. Maybe later on I will. But he’s got to get his head out of his ass … We need him pitching. If he’s not going to help us, we’ll put people in his place that will …”
This wasn’t a rant. Guillen was supportive of Ohman and said he wants him to do well. But he’s not going to sugar coat it either. That’s the thing about honesty: it can hurt when someone tells you, you know, that you gotta get your head out of your ass. But it can also be comforting in that at least you know where you stand and you can trust that the good that comes with the bad — the part about Guillen wanting Ohman around — is genuine too.
Yeah, it’s rough. But as anyone who has ever worked someplace where they give you nothing but praise and disingenuous smiles only to kick you out the door later can tell you, the blunt stuff is rather refreshing.
A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.
Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:
After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.
Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:
Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.
Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.
David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.
In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.
Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”
And he’ll get to do it only three more times.