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posted: 7/17/2012 12:01 AM

Ozzie Guillen should not be so soon forgotten

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  • Miami manager Ozzie Guillen returns to Chicago on Tuesday night when his Marlins visit Wrigley Field.

    Miami manager Ozzie Guillen returns to Chicago on Tuesday night when his Marlins visit Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press


He's still Ozzie.

He's still barking the bark. He's still irritating the irritable. He's still clowning the clowns, including himself sometimes.

Ozzie Guillen recently went off on his closer Heath Bell. He has a little feud going with Nationals rookie Bryce Harper. He ripped into the Chicago media.

That, of course, is in addition to earlier infamously raising a stir with Cuban Americans over his comments about Fidel Castro.

Man, do I ever miss that Guillen guy.

It'll be good to see Guillen's circus return to Chicago on Tuesday night when his Miami Marlins play the Cubs in Wrigley Field.

Guillen is so outsized that his presence will obscure even Carlos Zambrano's return to Wrigleyville and Mark Buehrle's return to Chicago.

This isn't to deny that the time was right for the White Sox to part company with Guillen after last season.

I have this theory about feature films: The first two hours are for the audience; anything over that is for the director.

The same applies to Guillen and the Sox: The first five years were for us; anything after that was for the manager.

But let's not rewrite history just because the Sox weren't good under Guillen the last couple of years, the Marlins have underachieved this season, and Robin Ventura has the Sox in first place.

Chicago's two baseball teams have won the World Series once since 1917. Guillen managed that Sox team in 2005.

What should that be worth? Everything. That's Mike Ditka coaching the only Bears team to win a Super Bowl and remaining an icon because of it.

The thing about Guillen with the Sox is that even the bad times were good. OK, maybe not always good but always entertaining, whether heart-wrenchingly dramatic or wackily slapstick, commodities so rare in today's homogenized world of professional sports.

Ozzie Guillen has some texture to him. It might be sandpaper, but it's texture just the same in a mostly polished culture. All anybody needs to possess to appreciate Guillen are thick skin and a sense of humor.

A former big-league manager once told me when he still was active that most managers are afraid to say anything. At best a controversial opinion might bring a reprimand. At worst it might cost the manager his job.

Ozzie Guillen didn't care. He didn't care as a player. He didn't care as Sox manager. He doesn't care as Marlins manager.

It's not that Guillen tells it like it is. He told it like he sees it. At least he's telling us something more than "we'll get them tomorrow."

Nothing here was off the record with Guillen. If he said it, he didn't care who heard it. He didn't care what the subject was. He didn't care whose feelings were hurt.

Throughout the good times and bad, Guillen was the little man with the big mouth. He said what was on his mind, and few sports minds have more on them than this guy's.

Who knows what Guillen is about to say Tuesday night about Wrigley Field, about Kenny Williams, about Hugo Chavez, about Rahm Emanuel, about Madonna, about Scientology, about Linsanity, about JoePa ?

Strap yourself in, folks. Ozzie Guillen is back in town, still fighting the fight and still being Ozzie.

It'll be strangely good to see him again Tuesday night in a Miami uniform and more than that oddly enjoyable to hear him speak out again.

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