MINNEAPOLIS - The best of Ozzie Guillen - Episode #47
Here is the Ozzie pre-game in full - enjoy.
Any bad blood?
"Not from my part. If the player wants to do something about it, that's their job. My job is if I see anybody hit somebody on purpose, then I take over. I have to protect my player. But if their teammates believes it was a cheap shot, it's up to them to get it done or forget about it and play the game. If somebody was hurt, it's a little different. Like I say I played this game long enough. If I'm going to do something on my part, I'm going to put the players' jeopardy of getting hurt. And if I was a player, if I feel that way, then it's different because I'll have a shot and I will have a chance to take a shot and they can't take a shot at me. But if I do that just because I'm pissed, or just because I don't like the play and some of my players get hurt, or somebody out there gets hurt, that's not my way.
"Like I say, it's a lot different when players take care of themselves and make the manager be there because the manager isn't going to get hurt. And I'm always against that. Maybe people don't believe that, but every time I get something done, I let you guys know who did it. And I got a lot of money paid to major league baseball because cleared up I say 'yes, I did' because that's the way I grew up and played the game. But in the meanwhile, when you're managing, you got to stay away from somebody getting hurt. And I'm not going to do it. If my players feel a different way, I'm behind them 100 percent. We'll see what happens. But I don't expect anything to happen. But if something happens, I'll be behind them. But it's not my call.''
Thome and the decision made not to bring him back?
"First of all, let me make this clear. All right, when the White Sox made Jim Thome, Jim Thome made the decision to leave to the Dodgers. He made that decision to himself, all right. If people are going to blame me not have Jim thome here, I take full responsibility because I expressed to Jim my love for him, my respect to him and his family, and one thing about my life - I'm not a hypocrite. I told him my situation, what we want, not what Ozzie wants. OK. Jim Thome, besides that home run, he got two base hits. I'm not pitching. And I thought we was in a different direction to have that ballclub around. And I think in that particular day or right now, we don't need him. He played good for them. I love it. I love it. I wish I hate that guy. I love him. I love him, and he knows.''
"Is he playing good for them? I love it. I love it. I wish I hated that guy. I love that man and he knows it. But in the meanwhile, all those people in Chicago and all those people around the world that want to blame somebody for not bringing Jim Thome to this ballclub, I'll take the blame. But in the meanwhile, I tell those people that Jim Thome had to say yes to the trade when we traded him. I'm not going to hide from people when we made that decision. I say we because I'm the only one who faces it. I talked to him before I made that decision, I told him why I don't see him fitting here. And believe me, I love Jim having a season like that because I look up there and he's very close to 600 home runs. I'm not going to say I'm happy Morneau got hurt; now he's got playing time. For all those people there saying it was my fault about Jim Thome, yes it's my fault. If those people don't like that, f--- them.''
Why is the blame falling only on you?
"Because I have balls and I have face. I'm not afraid. I can care less what people think. We're in second place. When Jim Thome was here, we finished third three times out of fours years. We went to one playoff because he hit a home run to go to the playoffs. We finished third, almost fourth, three times. Listen, I don't make that decision, we made that decision. It was hard for me to do this. A lot of people in Chicago talk about Jim Thome. How about JD? I think Jermaine Dye did more stuff for the Chicago White Sox than Jim Thome did, with all my respect to Jimbo. What's going on here? I don't get it. Why do people forget about JD? People don't even talk about JD at all. If Thome was a better player than JD for the White Sox, that's the answer."
Well JD's not playing for the Twins
"JD can play for anybody. But a lot of people in Chicago don't talk about JD. Jim Thome didn't win that game yesterday, all right? You know who won the game? The play Kubel made in the outfield, the home run the left fielder hit, Konerko grounding into the double play. That's it. If Punto hit that home run, I might still be crying. Or Span. Or Ron Gardenhire. Jim Thome's hit almost 600 home runs, good for him.''
Have PK and Quentin benefited from no Thome?
"I think a lot of people have a year because we need to rest people. It's a little different with Jim Thome wearing a Minnesota Twins uniform and a Chicago uniform. Every time I'm going to play Jim Thome, I get asked why is he not playing? Jim Thome has a lot of at-bats because Morneau got hurt. OK? That's it. And is he helping this ballclub win? Yes. Are the Minnesota Twins going to go to the playoffs because of Jim Thome and Ozzie doesn't want him? I'll take that blame. Why not? Believe me Jim Thome isn't here because I don't want to. It's because I don't see him fit in this ballclub in spring training with what we wanted to do. If they want to put it this way that it's what I want to do, I will take that. I will take that.
"How many games did we win against the National League? 15? Every time we had Jim Thome here, we couldn't play him against the National League. Why won't anybody give me credit for that one? We won 15 games. And Jimbo had one, two at-bats every time we played those guys. And we made this run because we played good against the National League. We got hot then. But I hope he hits another f----- one today. He had all three hits against lefties. Is it my fault we can't pitch against his ass? No. Well ... I feel proud of him, to be honest with you. When I see him hit that s--- out there all the way to the building out there at 98, I don't see that for the last three years with us. Good for him. A lot of people talk about the home run from Jim Thome. How about the eight or nine runs before that? But that's OK. I'll wear it. I'll take it. I'll take the heat.
"You want to have Jim Thome here? F--- it. They're a fan, a radio announcer or a newspaper. We don't want him because we don't need him. Right now we don't. Is he playing good for them? Good for him. Anybody else anything about Jim Thome? All those f------ people in Chicago say something Jim Thome? No. Why? Good, I hope he enjoys the next couple of days. All of a sudden people are going to say, 'Oh, Ozzie's going crazy.' No, Jesus. Because I'm the one sitting here taking the beating. I'm ready to take the beating. I'm ready. I'm all for that. If anyone here thought Jim Thome was going to hit a 200,000-foot home run against Thornton? No. But he did that, and [Thornton's] not the only one he's done it to. He's got like 590-some people in the book. They score four runs in the first inning ... [then Ozzie loses memory of the score] ... how about Capps, the reliever, he f----- it up, he gave up that home run. And then the other kid, Rauch, he gave up the base hit. Those guys don't give those up, Jim Thome doesn't beat us. Thank you. That's Gardenhire's fault for bringing those guys into pitch. He should have left that guy in that started the game and then we're still playing. I'm not running away from anybody. I don't run from anybody because I sleep very well last night, I played golf this morning. I didn't change anything. I rode my bike, go to sleep and as soon as I'm done with [this game] I'm going to go back to sleep. Same stuff. Because I know my mind, my heart and my soul, they're very clean. I have my head on my shoulders, and I think we did the right thing with what we did in spring training. If people don't like it, good. They don't like it, they don't have to watch the f------ White Sox. Oh and I got one more year on my contract, just make sure to tell Jerry [Reinsdorf], get it ready, this crazy f----- Mexican, it's fine with me. They going to blame me about one home run, I'll take the blame.''