TUCSON, Ariz. – The biggest knock manager Ozzie Guillen had on his clubhouse this offseason was there were too many nice guys, too many guys willing to lead by example, rather than by voice.
While Jim Thome isn’t the type of guy to start getting in his the faces of teammates after 17 major-league seasons, he did agree with his skipper, as well as point out on Monday that he might be “Mr. Nice Guy’’ off the field, but on the field, it’s a different story.
“I think being aggressive, having a little bit of that arrogance, and if you call it meanness, sure,’’ Thome explained. “Having a little chip on your shoulder, a little arrogance with yourself. That’s what I think is the little intangible that helps you win.’’
Asked if his Mayberry persona is capable of that, Thome didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Is it my character? I’m not a mean guy, but I’m a mean guy on the field when we compete,’’ Thome said. “You may not see it, but trust me, I have a lot of heart and desire that if you’re out there, I’m going to try and beat you. Do whatever it takes.’’
As for the reason he showed up into camp four days early, Thome said he wants to set a tone for this season.
“Again, the ultimate goal coming into spring training is to win that championship,’’ the slugger said. “How you get everyone on the same page to do it? You’ve got to be healthy, a lot of things have to go right. That’s our goal here this spring. Get going early, get our team together early and try and build that camaraderie and that team orientation early, and then take it on into the year.’’