Leave it to Ozzie Guillen to tick off an entire country.
News of the White Sox manager insisting in Detroit over the weekend that both Ivan “Pudge’’ Rodriguez and Roberto Alomar were the two best players to come out of Puerto Rico, ahead of icon Roberto Clemente, have started a backlash, according to the Associated Press.
Guillen made that statement, even though he has been a life-long collector of Clemente memorabilia, as well as giving his son, Oney, the middle name of Roberto, after Clemente.
“If Clemente had to squat behind that plate like Pudge does every day, he would have been out of the game in two years,’’ Guillen insisted on Monday. “People just want to be politically correct because of the way Clemente’s life ended [in a plane crash].’’
According to the AP story, Clemente’s son, Luis Roberto Clemente, learned of Guillen’s comments and said, “I am very certain and very at ease about what my father has accomplished. That is history that will never change.’’
It wasn’t all negative for Guillen, however, as a local Puerto Rican sports historian named Jorge Colon felt Guillen had a right to express his opinion.
“What happens is that Clemente is the most admired and loved, and we tend to be overprotective,’’ Colon said. “But there is nothing wrong in saying that other players have surpassed him.’’