Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guillen happy to join FOX for World Series

Jim Ecker        
JUPITER, Fla. -- Ozzie Guillen, the irrepressible and loquacious manager of the Chicago White Sox, said Friday he plans to partially throttle himself as a member of the FOX broadcast crew for the 2009 World Series. He'll give his opinions, but doesn't want to offend the players and managers.
It could be a fine line.
"I just be honest. I'm going to have my opinions. I hope people respect that," said Guillen, who became the first Latin-born manager to win the World Series when he led the White Sox to the title in 2005. "I know every time you make an opinion, good or bad, there's two ways to look at it. I expect to be myself and I hope I do a good job. I hope people like it."
Guillen, 45, is visiting the WWBA World Championship this weekend to watch his youngest son, Ozney, play for the Kentucky Baseball Club. He visited with old friends, greeted new ones and generally held court wherever he went at the Roger Dean Sports Complex, talking baseball, telling stories and enjoying life, as always.
Guillen said he's not sure of his exact assignments with FOX for the World Series, but it's been reported he'll be part of the pre-game and post-game shows.
"Right now, I don't have the details," he said. "We have a meeting a couple of days before the World Series starts, and then at the meeting they're going to let me know exactly what my role is going to be. And I happen to have two outstanding broadcasters in the booth behind me to talk about the game in (Tim) McCarver and (Joe) Buck. They do a tremendous job over the years and are one of the best in the business. I'm just one piece of the puzzle. Hopefully we'll have fun and enjoy what we're doing."
Guillen, from Venezuela, is bilingual in Spanish and English, but Spanish is his native tongue. "The only thing they can hope is the people can understand what I'm saying," he said, laughing and poking a little fun at himself.
"I think to be broadcaster you have to know about the game, and be honest, and not try to manage the team. You're not managing," he said. "And don't try to play the game when you're not playing. You just have to say your opinion and respect the managers' decisions and respect the players' decisions.
"The team I'll be working with are very, very special people," he said. "They know about the game. You cannot be more pleased when you're doing this for the first time in your life and you're going to do it on the big stage."
The Phillies are waiting to see who they'll play in the World Series. The Yankees had a 3-2 lead going into the sixth game of the American League playoffs Saturday night in New York.
"In a short series, you never know what's going to happen," said Guillen. "New York look very well. They go back home. They have one of the best pitchers in the postseason in Andy (Pettitte) throwing for them. I think it's going to be tough for the Angels, but you never know. The Angels have a great ballclub. They're a pretty balanced ballclub. Like I say, anything can happen."
Guillen was impressed and surprised by the large number of pro scouts and college coaches for the WWBA World Championship. When his son invited him to attend the tournament, he didn't realize it was such a big deal, with hundreds of scouts. He visited with many of them, greeting them warmly and swapping stories, although Guillen did most of the swapping.
"When you see a lot of baseball people here it's something you enjoy," he said. "I enjoy to be around baseball, I enjoy to be around baseball people. I love to watch kids play. I just hope they have fun and do the best they can and play hard.
"When you see kids around here doing everything they can with their parents to be good baseball players, I think it's something you feel proud," he said. "I think the United States need more of this. I think we have to support these kids a little more and make sure those kids do the right things to play."
It was different for Guillen when he was a kid.
"It's funny," he said. "I was just talking to a couple of people. I remember in Venezuela, it was like 40 kids and there was only one scout. Now things changed. Now it's 40 scouts to watch one kid. This business grow so quick. It's  good thing.
"The kids have a chance to be seen by a lot of good baseball people," he said. "I think it's a great thing."
Guillen overcame the odds and played in the major leagues from 1985 to 2000 with the White Sox, Baltimore, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1985, made the All-Star game three times and won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 1990. He hit .264 in his career and just finished his sixth year as manager of the White Sox. He led Chicago to its first World Series championship since 1917 with a four-game sweep of Houston in 2005.
The White Sox struggled this season, but Guillen sees better days ahead.
"I think next year we going to have a better ballclub," he said. "I think our defense and our pitching staff is going to be better. I think our pitching will be fine. I think we need a couple more arms in the bullpen. And that's not my department. I'll let Kenny Williams (the White Sox G.M.) do his job. I think on the paper we look very well. Hopefully we just go on the field and do it."
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