Ozzie Guillen’s relationship with general manager Ken Williams is reportedly worse than ever and he’s already talking about leaving Chicago if a contract extension isn’t offered, but at least one White Sox player is just fine with Guillen’s consistent headline-making ways.
During an interview with ESPN-1100 in Chicago today Mark Buehrle explained that Guillen “is entertaining” and a lot of the manager-fueled drama “just sort of goes in one ear and out the other.”
Here’s more from Buehrle, who’s been managed by Guillen since 2004:
Look what he has done here. He’s won a World Series here with them, he’s made the playoffs a few times with them. I think a lot of stuff I keep on hearing and people are talking about is just his act. Some of the stuff he says and does, is it kind of getting old? From Day 1, I know myself, I can’t speak for anybody else, I think it’s entertaining. I love listening to stuff. I love when drama happens. I love seeing how it’s going to play out. A lot of stuff, I don’t pay attention. It just sort of goes in one ear and out the other. I don’t make a big deal of it, I don’t look too deep into it. I just kind of enjoy seeing how it plays out and go from there.
As a Twins fan I’m conditioned to hate all things White Sox, but as a writer who likes good quotes and interesting personalities Guillen is obviously gold. I can certainly understand how Guillen might be tough to deal with at times, particularly for the GM, but in general White Sox players seem to like playing for him and the team has recovered from a disappointing start to likely finish above .500 for the sixth time in his eight seasons.
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.
I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.
Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.
All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?
Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.
Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.
Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.