Mariotti Comes Through
I wrote yesterday that after Ozzie Guillen signed an extension through 2012, I was sure that Jay Mariotti would write his column today blasting the move, the manager, and the White Sox organization.
And he did.
Honestly, I expected better from Mariotti. Usually his columns on all subjects really get to me, and that is why he’s such a terrific columnist. People care about what he writes and says. If he never ruffled feathers and no one cared what he wrote, he wouldn’t have lasted this long in a market like Chicago. But this particular column comes off as petty and totally off the pulse of White Sox fans. And as a columnist, once your finger is not on the pulse of your readers, you’re in trouble.
Well, it was nice knowing the Chicago White Sox, who officially have become an irrelevant laughingstock after turning a one-hit wonder into a long term blunder.
I wouldn’t exactly call a guy who has three 88-plus win seasons and a World Championship a ‘one-hit wonder’.
They’ve stood behind him even when he has embarassed a city, a sport and two nations, including his native Venezuela, with his immature, insensitive and vapid ramblings.
Here we get the first glimpse of why Mariotti really doesn’t like Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox organization. You’ll notice that Mariotti never decries specific moves Ozzie made. He never rails against certain strategic moves. He never cites awful handling of the pitching staff or inconsistent lineups. His criticism always comes down to the incident when Ozzie hurled a slur against him in 2005. Jay, I understand you personally don’t like a guy, but just because someone called you a ‘fag’ doesn’t mean he’s a bad baseball manager or someone who has disgraces his native country and the United States. Easy with the hyperbole.
And in the biggest of blind spots, they’ve extended Guillen despite the probable offseason availability of Tony LaRussa, who never would have allowed the Sox to collapse the last two season and surely would point a talented team toward the playoffs next year.
OK, so because Tony LaRussa ‘might’ be available next year, they shouldn’t extend their manager? Explain this logic to me. I won’t argue that LaRussa is a more accomplished manager than Guillen, but there is no way to tell if LaRussa will be available next season. And if he is, there’s no way to tell if he would come back to Reinsdorf and the White Sox, who fired him 20 years ago. Also, its funny that Mariotti writes about LaRussa as if he is the antithesis of Guillen, even though earlier this season he was found passed out drunk behind the wheel of his car, asleep at a stop sign. So, in Mariotti’s world, calling someone a ‘fag’ is much worse than being so drunk you fall asleep while stopped at a stop sign. Jay, LaRussa isn’t without his issues, believe me.
The Blizzard lost me Tuesday when he acknowledged he altered his managing style and became softer this year because of the criticism directed at him last year….how stunning to see a man with opinions on everything–a loudmouth willing to take on the world–tone down his act behind closed doors because he couldn’t take the heat.
As a writer, this is where I really admire Mariotti. He has the ability to twist quotes to fit his own argument very well. If you read his words, Ozzie never says he changed because of the media’s criticism. He just mentions ‘criticism’. I have heard him say earlier in the season that he was softer this year because he had a different ballclub, and he felt that is what this group of players needed. He adjusted his managerial style to the type of team he had. Did this change make a difference? It doesn’t seem so. But is Mariotti trying to tell me that if Ozzie had been his old self, consistently criticizing his team and throwing guys under the bus, that this group would be in contention right now? I don’t think so. Whether you’re a good guy or bad guy, loud or quiet, when your team doesn’t hit or pitch, you’re not going to win.
Because of a personal grudge, Mariotti refuses to look at the past year and a half of White Sox baseball as what it truly is–a group of underachieving players who inexplicably forgot how to win. The truth is, none of the last season and a half is because Ozzie stunk. The players did. Compare Ozzie’s strategic moves with the two previous White Sox managers, Jerry Manuel and Terry Bevington. I’ll take Ozzie every day of the week and twice on Sunday against those guys. Ozzie is a top ten major league manager right now, and when you have a top ten manager, you don’t let him go because he insulted a columnist two years ago.
Jay, White Sox fans might give your anti-Ozzie rants more credence if they weren’t so obviously based on a personal agenda instead of on-the-field issues. Tell me he shouldn’t be using pitcher A in certain situations. Tell me player B should be starting ahead of player C and Ozzie’s lack of realization of that guy’s talent is hurting the team. But don’t tell me he shouldn’t be Sox manager because he’s mean.