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updated: 7/18/2012 5:40 AM

Ozzie Guillen in Chicago spotlight again

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  • As usual, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, shown here during at game at Miami last weekend, was not at a loss for words Tuesday night when he brought his Marlins to Wrigley Field.

      As usual, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, shown here during at game at Miami last weekend, was not at a loss for words Tuesday night when he brought his Marlins to Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

Ozzie Guillen was back in town Tuesday night, even though he still makes Chicago his off-season home and was just here over the all-star break.

If you were in the right place at the right time last week, you might haven seen the erstwhile White Sox manager/shortstop tossing back a few drinks with catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

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Just about every Chicago reporter with a media credential seemed to be crammed into the visitor's dugout at Wrigley Field before Guillen and the Miami Marlins played the first of three against the Cubs.

Having covered Guillen as a player and manager on the South Side, here are my impressions:

• Ozzie is never going to invite general manager Kenny Williams or pitching coach Don Cooper over for a sleepover, but the White Sox are always going to be in his heart and on his mind.

No. 13 played shortstop for the Sox for 13 years and came back and managed them for eight more seasons. In 2005 Guillen piloted the White Sox to the World Series.

Yes, it was a messy split. But it was a necessary one, and Guillen reiterated it's time to move forward.

"I turned the page," he said. "I miss being around a few people, yes. Of course. Listen, it's like getting divorced and getting married again. What are you going to say? Oh, wow, look at my wife, she has another boyfriend.

"No, I'm not that type of guy. I got remarried and I wish my wife the best of luck."

The White Sox are his first wife, and Guillen is never going to forget the link.

"I am a true White Sox," he said. "Put it this way, 21 years with the same organization. Nobody can say (bleep) about me in the White Sox organization. Nobody. I am a true White Sox. I spent more years with the White Sox than anybody out there. The White Sox will always be in my heart."

•Given his many accomplishments with the Sox, I suggested to Ozzie that it's just a matter of time before he gets his statue out on the outfield concourse and has his No. 13 retired.

"I already have a statue there," Guillen said. "Every time you walk to (U.S.) Cellular Field, the first (bleep) you see is me holding the trophy. That's the biggest statue you can have."

True, but shouldn't the White Sox make it a little more official?

"Yeah, I think it's important for me because one of my best friend's statues is out there -- Harold Baines. Pudge (Carlton Fisk). Frank (Thomas). All those guys.

"I think if the day comes, it will be very welcome. I hope they do it before I die. It would nice.

"Do I expect it? It's up to the owner. Hopefully, Jerry (Reinsdorf) is the owner. I don't think that statue is going to be there pretty soon. I don't expect that. But the statue I want, I already got it, it's a (World Series) ring.

"And every time they walk to the ballpark, Ozzie's face is going to be there. That's the biggest statue I have. If it comes, it comes. If not, you can't do too much about it."

•Ozzie addressed a touchy subject -- the White Sox are in first place this season because Robin Ventura is the new manager.

"It's not fair when I see a couple idiots, let me put it this way, compare the team played better because so and so is not here," Guillen said. "I think that's not fair because when I was here I was very clear with the media, very honest, and you see my record in eight years (678-517).

"I think I left this team with a winning percentage. Two postseasons and one championship.

"When people talk about me being overrated, overpaid, that's funny, because they don't have the guts to tell me to my face I was overrated and overpaid."

•The White Sox were not expected to contend this season, but Ozzie said he's not surprised they are leading the AL Central.

"I never denied the White Sox have good talent," Guillen said. "I think they've got great talent, and if you asked me if I'm surprised where they're at, no.

"Adam (Dunn) had a bad season for me, (Jake) Peavy pitched a few games. (Alex) Rios is being Rios right now. They're pitching well. There's no doubt (Chris) Sale is going to be great. I expect them to be where they are right now."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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