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Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano share same passion

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Thumbnail image for carlos-zambrano-wrigley-field.jpgOzzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano have a lot in common.

They've shared billing in a Pepsi commercial.

They share a homeland.

And on Thursday, they shared a playing field. But not before the White Sox manager shared some opinions on the Cubs righty.

"Zambrano, to me, is one of the best pitchers in the game," Guillen said before his team took on the Cubs' ace. "And I love, love the way he handles himself on the field. Many people say he's crazy, he's out of his mind. I love that, I like that attitude. I don't want people to fall asleep on the stinking mound."
Of course, Guillen himself has come under all sorts of scrutiny for his competitve fire and on-field theatrics that can border on being over the line in the eyes of critics. But, it's precisely this type of passion and competitveness that he sees in himself -- and Zambrano.

"I like competition, I like him breaking Gatorade coolers. To me, when he kicked the umpire out of the game, that was the funniest thing this year. Awesome."

Guillen was refering to a May 27 incident when Big Z was thrown out by home plate umpire Mark Carlson after arguing a close play at the plate. Zambrano proceeded to mockingly signal that he was tossing Carlson and chucked the baseball towards the bleachers. Upon entering the dugout, the pitcher took a bat to the Gatorade machine inside the Cubs' dugout.

Guillen suggested the game could use more passion and an injection of competitive spirit.

"Baseball needs people like that," he said.

Guillen also guaranteed that if polled, all 30 major league teams would take Zambrano on their roster.

"Any manager would take that guy on their roster any day of the week," he said.

Both the player and the coach were born in Venezeula, where the love of baseball starts early.

"He grew up with passion. He grew up with baseball in his blood," Guillen said. "People have to respect that."

Guillen continued to point out that many of the other Venezeulan-born players in the major leagues were known for being calm. He said that he and Carlos differed from more laid-back players like Magglio Ordonez, Bobby Abreu and Johan Santana.

"You don't see too many Venezeualan guys out there acting the way we are."

And as to all of the attention given to Big Z's tirades when he plays for Lou Piniella, the man who perfect such moves as the base toss and dirt kick?

"Who is more crazy? Lou or Carlos," Guillen quipped, "Carlos did it once, Lou's been doing that for twenty years."

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on June 18, 2009 6:20 PM.

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