O'Donnell: Could Ozzie Guillen's hunger and spark be the perfect elixir for snoozin' Sox?

  • Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen -- now a TV broadcaster -- said recently the team will not win the World Series this season.

    Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen -- now a TV broadcaster -- said recently the team will not win the World Series this season. Associated Press

 
Updated 5/18/2022 4:45 PM

THE FULL TRUTH IS, if Ozzie Guillen were completely -- dangerously -- untethered, he'd be the most direct and authoritative White Sox TV analyst since Jimmy Piersall.

Instead, the World Series-winning ex-manager has to dance through raindrops.

 

That's because the franchise retains a significant interest in NBC Sports Chicago.

And "The Blizzard of Oz" remains direct deposit-dependent on the goodwill of organization overseers to stay on TV.

NONETHELESS, WITHIN HARNESS, Guillen has been commendably straightforward when asked if the wavering ballclub will win the 2022 World Series.

"No," he said. "To win the World Series, people think is easy.

"It's not that easy. Everything has to click for you every day."

Guillen continued: "Do they have the opportunity? Yes. But also, they have teams in front of them that compete and have the same kind of talent.

"Now a couple of guys get hurt. There's a lot of 'ifs.'

"If everything works for them, they have a chance.

"But that's it ... a chance."

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A CHANCE THAT IS GROWING in its intrigue to some very deep-rooted Sox fans is the idea that Jerry Reinsdorf and associates would pull the plug on The Tony La Russa / Lazerus Rollback and install Guillen as the new Sox manager.

Under Guillen, they say, an extremely talented Sox team would not be chasing a .500 record seven weeks into the season amid the weakest division in Major League Baseball.

Under Guillen, those rabid stalwarts add, the degree of intensity and focus that the team brings to games would not be a day-to-day riddle.

INSTANT BROADCASTER-TO-MANAGER happened once before in Chicago baseball.

On a colorless May day in 1960, Cubs path seekers P.K. Wrigley and John Holland yanked Lou Boudreau out of the WGN-AM (720) booth and swapped out manager Charlie Grimm to work alongside Jack Quinlan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Boudreau inherited a disjointed squad of North Siders that were 6-11.

His Cubbies staggered home 54-83. "The Good Kid" politicked his way back into the WGN booth for the 1961 season.

It was as if the South had fired on Fort Sumter and missed.

GUILLEN WOULD BRING fire, restoked hunger and a sharp ability to link a whole lot of different parts into the remaining 4½ months of what should be a deeply competitive season.

Or Reinsdorf and self-satisfied cohorts can stay with The Sleepy Senor and backlogged postgame perspectives predicated on his glory days.

Ozzie, Si!, "La Russ-o," No!"

Which would Piersall recommend?

STREET-BEATIN': Dan Roan will end his durable 38-year run at WGN-Channel 9 next Thursday, May 26 -- meaning that Jim Rose is the last whiff of The Golden Old Chicago Guard still on-air doing local nightly TV sports. Which is also like finding out Ted Baxter was the only primary WJM-TV staffer retained in the final episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." ...

Is toxic defending champ Phil Mickelson doing The Tour and its TV partners a major favor by skipping this weekend's PGA Championship at Southern Hills C.C. in Tulsa? The presence of Ol' Annoyance would provide good theater only if the galleries could hiss and boo the grossly self-absorbed "Me, Tee-er" (ESPN and ESPN+, Thursday-Friday; CBS and ESPN, Saturday-Sunday.) ...

Also from The PGA, just grand that ESPN and ESPN2 will devote 16 hours over the four days to the "alternate telecast" featuring Joe Buck and Michael Collins. (It'd be more fun if it was Jack Buck and the Michael Collins who circled the moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed The Eagle.) ...

Mike Greenberg looked about as comfortable as Sen. Tammy Duckworth at Mar-a-Lago sitting between air-brained Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose during ESPN's wraparound of Game 1 between the Heat and the Celtics. Smith and Rose were remarkably devoid of any original or provocative thoughts about the Eastern Conference Finals (Game 2, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.). ...

Kudos -- or "kujos," as Michael Jordan would say -- to The Daily Herald's Dick Quagliano for his scoop du jour on the decision of Max Christie to skip his remaining NIL-ism at Michigan State and opt in to the NBA draft. That sweeper will be notably foggy because of the number of young 'uns who had large chunks of their key developmental years compromised by The Pandemic. ...

What if they threw a Preakness and nobody cared? NBC gets to find out Saturday when the thoroughly lusterless second trinket of racing's Triple Downer plows on at Pimlico (3 p.m.). Thoughts: 1) The only thing that beats Steve Asmussen's favored Epicenter is the colt's all-out effort in the KY Derby two weeks ago; and, 2) Jerry Bailey remains one of the best niched analysts in American sports TV. ...

And sneering sports soothsayer Bruce Wolf, to the tweeting mass: "Local yokel tv news is obsolete. They try to act like cool kids when they're in the old folks home."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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