Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Pardon this interruption - KW: 'Ozzie would never fight with me. He knows better than that.'

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340x.jpgMINNEAPOLIS - Leave it to Ken Williams to turn a mundane pre-game clubhouse into something that resembled a Jerry Springer audience.
The White Sox general manager was on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption'' Thursday afternoon, and when asked about the tension that took place with manager Ozzie Guillen in early June, including a heated shouting match that was first reported in the Sun-Times, responded with, "It was really blown out of proportion ... come on, we are about to come to blows? That's not realistic. Ozzie would never fight with me. He knows better than that.''
It was the "He knows better than that'' dig that sent the visiting clubhouse of Target Field into a roar, with Sox players oohing and ahhing like kids on a playground about to see a fight.
The interview didn't go unnoticed by Guillen, who was watching it in the manager's office.
"Everybody did,'' Guillen responded when asked if he saw it. "I don't see it as bad. I don't know if Kenny knows me for that long. He said 30 years [during the PTI interview]? He knows me longer than my wife know me.
"I think it was good. The one thing about it, I never deny I'm going to fight with him. I never fight with anyone because I don't know how to fight. I'm not a fighter.''
All of a sudden the road less traveled for Guillen is the high road?
"It's the one thing about all this stuff, I think the team stayed away from the problem from the beginning,'' Guillen continued. "We have enough professional guys. I have a few guys here who have played for a long time. Whoever is here for the first year, they find out who I am. My job is to make sure those guys play the right way. Make sure I get the best out of them. I think they were never involved in what happened off the field. I appreciate that as a manager. All those people out there, they think I don't get along with my players. They are wrong.
"They don't think my players respect me. They are wrong. Those people, they think my players don't like me, they are right. But they have to play hard for me. I don't care if they like me or love me. As long as they respect me and play hard for me, that's all I ask of them.''
What both Williams and Guillen continued to agree on was the separate meetings they each had with board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in the days following the June 8 confrontation, and the fact that those sit-downs were more fatherly advice than visiting the principal's office.
"We not sit next to him like a little child, we are grown men,'' Guillen reiterated of the meetings. "Jerry is a business man. He don't give a s--- if me and Kenny get along. If this team wins the World Series and we end up in jail because we are killing each other, Jerry would go for that.
"As long as they win, that's Jerry's business. We all where we are and we respect Jerry more than anything. Kenny loves Jerry and I love Jerry. I want to do this thing for him. My greatest moment in my career in 2005 was when I win the World Series for him.''
So are Guillen and Williams ready to go back to the brotherly relationship they had a few years back? Don't bet on that. While things have been forgiven they have not been forgotten.
"Did something happen? Of course it happened,'' Guillen added of the shouting match. "Everyone knows. But in the meanwhile, we separate those things from one time to another. I separate my problems on the field and off the field.
"It's the only way this thing is going to work is if we pull from the same end of the rope, and we do. Even if we don't agree with each other, at the end of the day, we do pull from the same rope.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on July 15, 2010 8:01 PM.

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