Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians

Ozzie Guillen traffics in metaphor, is predictably misunderstood

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Ozzie Guillen was apparently not in a very good mood in the wake of Saturday’s ugly extra innings loss, because yesterday morning he went off.  Most of the comments were about his coaches, how managers approach their job differently than players and fans do and about how much he cares about the White Sox, even though he wishes he didn’t care so much because not caring would be so much easier.

The comments that are getting all of the play, however, are the comments about the fans. Specifically, Guillen’s claim that the fans don’t care about him or the coaching staff and about how they are ungrateful for anything since the 2005 World Series championship. Here’s a link to the video of Guillen’s extended comments at CSN Chicago. The comments that are getting play start at around 11:40:

“Are they going to feel sorry because we’re going to get fired? F— no. They only remember us from 2005. In 2020 we’ll come here in a wheel chair all f—– up. As soon as you leave the ballpark they don’t care about you anymore. They don’t. The monuments, the statue they got, they pee on it when they’re drunk. That’s all they do. Thank you for coming, bye-bye.”

These comments were reported throughout the day yesterday by multiple outlets.  Last night, however, Guillen took to Twitter and ranted about the way they were being reported, and denied that he said anything about fans and alcohol. Here’s are his tweets from around 9PM last night, strung together for clarity but otherwise unedited because, man, no one could pay me enough to edit Ozzie Guillen:

Thas bull crap what the media print today about celular field and the fans … The should print and said everything I said thas low blow and imrresponsable no clas … Bunch a crap … No mention any fans and alcohol … Press asociacion print you name who put that today tha will be fear … I have the enterviu on tape I whish I can sue then thas a very low blow … Allways take stuff out the contest [I assume that means context] put people in bad situation to people can read then … What a hell I going to say bad thing about white sox fan they are behind me all my carrer a less most of then

Guillen’s more official statement, released by the White Sox, is as follows:

“If anyone listens to the entire conversation or reads a transcript of what I said, they will see my comments were not directed as criticism of White Sox fans.”

I watched the entire video at the link above. If you have the time you should too, because his comments provide some pretty interesting insight into the mind of a manager, not just the typical “Ozzie said something crazy” kind of thing. If someone reported just the stuff Guillen said about the fans at the 11-12 minute mark and and none of his other comments, Ozzie has a valid argument that his words were cast in a misleading light inasmuch as he did not set out to specifically and exclusively rip fans.  It was a very small part of a larger monologue and, in context, they seem fairly benign and reflective, not malicious toward fans. One could even make the argument that the “peeing on the monuments” thing was a metaphor, though I don’t expect many will actually make that argument.

That said, the secondhand reports I’ve read, including stories at the Chicago Tribune and ESPN Chicago, do a fairly decent job of describing the context, and the “no mention any fans and alcohol” is just wrong, as is clear from the videotape, so it’s not like Guillen’s indignation is excessively righteous, even if I tend to take his side here and don’t take any real issue with what he said.

To me this sounds like a situation in which Ozzie was surprised that what he said was actually reported.  Which, given what I’ve heard about what it’s like to cover Guillen, is not a total shocker.  He’s known to go off on profane and rather hilarious rants about things in the presence of reporters. I was once around him when he went off about the Tiger Woods sex scandal, and to this day I still have laughing fits thinking about it.

Unlike that kind of thing, however, what he said here was in an actual manager press conference with film rolling, not a casual conversation in the hallway of a hotel at the Winter Meetings. And the comments were newsworthy, given that they were about his team and his job, not about Tiger Woods. And given how this whole quote/react game works, it’s understandable if people are raising eyebrows about it all, because what he said is not the usual cliche-dripping stuff that tends to come out of the mouths of managers.

But I can’t get worked up about all of this, because what he’s saying is pretty much true. People don’t care what you did six years ago, they care about the here and now. Maybe Ozzie shouldn’t simply come out and say that stuff because people tend to not be able to handle that kind of truth coming from baseball managers (and because Ozzie lends himself to misinterpretation because, well, he’s Ozzie).  But no, I’m not going to go along with the idea that his comments are a big a deal worthy of controversy.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.