Ozzie follow-up

By | June 26, 2006

A few more quotes from Ozzie Guillen in the aftermath of last week’s idiocy:

I don’t think I’ll be going [to the sensitivity training ordered by the commissioner] — I don’t think that’ll happen. I think the commissioner ordered that in order to calm things down, but obviously, to attend one of those, I’ll have to take English lessons first.

I never lie. First of all, I said I’ll have to take an English class first to understand what they’re talking about. Believe me, this is the last day I talk about this. Anybody who wants to play games or put me in a position. … I’m going to continue to manage, but I’m going to start getting nasty with the media.

You put me in a situation that I don’t have to. First of all, I didn’t even go to school. I have six years in school and then I was done with. I was playing baseball when I was 16 years old.

It’s something that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to take this thing to the next step. I said what I said. I apologized. I’ve been punished. I’m waiting to see what goes on. I’m 42 years old and I know what I do and say. You put me on the spot every day. It’s really uncomfortable, especially for me.

I don’t need this job. I don’t need to kiss anybody’s butt to keep it.

Ozzie, no one is asking you to kiss anyone’s butt. What is being asked is that you use your brain before you talk.

Guillen makes a lot of excuses for himself; he’s from another country, he didn’t go to school as a kid, blah blah blah. Those things may be explanations, but they’re not excuses. As I mentioned the other day, Guillen has been in the U.S. at least eight months a year for the past 26 years — he has no one to blame but himself if he hasn’t learned English.

Guillen’s attitude is leading to some criticism from fellow Latin Americans, too. Former shortstop and current Dodgers first-base coach Mariano Duncan had this to say about Guillen:

Think before you talk, or you can really hurt yourself and hurt a lot of other people. He’s opened so many doors to Latino coaches. Now he’s in a position where people are listening to him. But he’s throwing everything away by the way he’s behaving.

He embarrassed every Latino player, coach and front-office person. Ozzie is a hero in his country [Venezuela] and a hero in my country [Dominican Republic]. We are here in America, where you can speak freely. But you don’t say everything that comes to your mind. He has to learn to slow down a little bit. You have to learn how to close your mouth.

Baseball needs people like Ozzie Guillen. He motivates people. He’s a smart guy. But he’s got to be smarter than that.

Duncan is exactly right. Ozzie seems to want it both ways, and you just can’t have it. You are either smart or stupid. The bottom line is this, Mr. Guillen: if you lack the intelligence or the English skills to know when to shut up, you lack the intelligence or the English skills to manage a World Series champion team.

And the other thing Duncan is right about: Guillen is an embarrassment to Latinos. How insulting is it to have a man who has spent more than half his life in America, who recently became an American citizen, basically say, “Don’t blame me, I’m just a dumb Latino who doesn’t know English!” when he gets himself in trouble? If I were one of the millions of people who came here from Latin America and worked my tail off to learn English and become a productive member of society, I would listen to that quote and be sick. Ozzie’s weaknesses are his own, and he needs to quit dishing them off on others.

Of course, he handled Duncan’s criticism with class and an appropriate level of introspection:

Mariano Duncan never will be a big-league manager and not because I ruined it for him, because if Mariano Duncan thinks being a manager is making out the lineup and changing pitchers, he is real wrong.

I opened a lot of doors for Latino managers, a lot, because of the way I am, things that happened in my career as a player, coach and manager.

I think Mariano Duncan should be the last person that should have an opinion about it, because maybe that will be an excuse for him if he doesn’t make it a big-league manager.

Yeah, sure, Ozzie. No one who criticizes you could possibly just think you are an idiot. Everyone in the world except you has ulterior motives for everything. What a classless weasel.

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