O'Donnell: Ozzie Guillen blisters La Russa in new Sox reality TV -- is Chair Jer' listening?

  • Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen let loose on manager Tony La Russa on NBC Sports Chicago following Tuesday's Game 1 loss at Cleveland.

    Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen let loose on manager Tony La Russa on NBC Sports Chicago following Tuesday's Game 1 loss at Cleveland. Associated Press

Updated 7/13/2022 4:21 PM

IF JERRY REINSDORF IS STILL operating on all cylinders, Tony La Russa will no longer be manager of the White Sox following the All-Star break next week.

The autumn leaves of the Hallmark/AARP bromance between Reinsdorf, 86, and La Russa, 77, have left.


Now if only Reinsdorf can snap to and process the reality.

Only White Sox fans are left to squirm and suffer. And a season once projected as grand on the South Side has been reduced to folly by the whims of a wealthy, disconnected autocrat.

BETWEEN AND OCCASIONALLY pushing the lines, Ozzie Guillen was making that perfectly clear on NBC Sports Chicago Tuesday afternoon.

The White Sox had just sleepwalked through a 4-1 loss in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Cleveland.

Guardians starter Shane Bieber threw a three-hit complete game. He needed only 95 pitches to turn La Russa's long ball-dependent sliders into beached Lake Erie alewives.

POSTGAME, COURAGEOUSLY as possible, Guillen spoke for the legions of White Sox fans who want his sort of fire back leading the oddly horizontaling team.

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"The reason Tony La Russa came here to direct this ballclub is (that he would be) better than Rick Renteria ... is true?" said Guillen, looking at set mates Scott Podsednik and Chuck Garfien.

"If I've got nothing to lose, if I take that job, I don't care who likes me or not.

"If I get fired, I'm leaving. ... Thank you Jerry, for the new opportunity, thank you guys, but I'm not putting up with ..." And here Guillen cautiously paused before concluding. "This sort of baseball."

It appeared he was self-editing the Spanish word for "waste," or thereabouts.

Guillen continued:

"The reason Tony La Russa got this job is because they were ready to win.

"When you've got nothing to lose, we gonna dance to this music. If you don't want to dance to that music and I'm the DJ, get off the (dance) floor.


"I think they can compete against anybody. But when you keep getting, 'Well, you know,' 'Well you know' (from La Russa), no we don't know!"

THE EXTREMELY POLITICAL PODSEDNIK was moved enough to lob in, "We see no sense of urgency. Zero sense of urgency. And we're in the second half of the season."

Guillen then smoldered on, hammering at La Russa's snoozy, detached Sox 2.0 managerial "style":

"If I get fired, I'm gonna get fired my way, not to protect somebody who's not gonna fight for me.

"You can put Tony La Russa right here next to me and I will tell him the same thing. I love him. I admire him. But I will say the same stuff.

"He's supposed to be Rick Renteria with credentials.

"I hope somebody (tells) Tony -- Ozzie (was) just creaming you on TV. Because I want him to be that guy."

THE REALITY OF THE 2022 WHITE SOX is that it's Reinsdorf who remains "that guy."

He's the man with ultimate veto power over All Things Sox, from hirings to firings to who appears on the NBC Sports Chicago studio shows.

Guillen's presence -- to the credit of all -- allows the organization to retain a semblance of authenticity with increasingly chagrined fans.

Team President Kenny Williams and GM Rick Hahn have been reduced to neutered poltroons.

Reinsdorf apparently doesn't care.

La Russa -- The Sleepy Senor -- is reinforcing the long-held thought that he simply lacks the "baseball masculinity" to effectively manage a championship brigade on the South Side of Chicago.

Again, Reinsdorf apparently doesn't care.

HERE'S ONE FINAL "METRIC" that Chair Jer' may want to care about as the All-Star break arrives:

In seven full seasons as manager of the Sox -- and parts of three others -- La Russa is 2-6 in the postseason and has never won any sort of October series.

Guillen, in eight seasons, was 12-4 and won three of four playoff matches and one World Series.

Who is the greater voice of winning experience on 35th Street?

STREET-BEATIN': Four weeks ago, the crystal ball miraculously spit out Matt Fitzpatrick (28-1) and Will Zalatoris (22-1) to strike 1-2 in the U.S. Open. This weekend in The Open, it's as foggy as the morning sky over the Mull of Kintyre. But Shane Lowry (25-1) and Louis Oosthuizen (45-1) should cash in the Top 10 or better. (Coverage all tourney long from Scotland predominantly on NBC and USA Network.) ...

Bottom line on the WNBA's All-Star weekend in Chicago: Professional women basketball players continue to be treated as second-class citizens and that's a crime. Less than 740K viewed the main event on ABC. And when Candace Parker retires, the game's marquee goes Titanic (post iceberg). ...

Also on the WNBA, the plight of Brittney Griner is viewed through compelling binational scope by commissar Jay Mariotti at substack.com. (Google "mariotti griner"; the essay is not for the vacuously hip or "patriotic.") ...

On the subject of vacuous, The Athletic surveyed a whopping 2,500 respondents -- from a Chicago metro market of more than 8M -- to determine "best of breed" in local media. Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes topped sports talk, which is like overhearing someone say Gene Wilder and the cash-grabbing Richard Pryor were the funniest duo in the history of American cinema. ...

And Sticks Milkovich, on the opening of Saratoga's grand summer meet Thursday while Arlington Park withers to naught: "I'd take Eddie Perez in the saddle any day at Euclid and Wilke over all those pretentious 'swells' up at 'The Spa.' "

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

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