I’ve got to get a few things out of the way, in the interest of objectivity. One, I’m a Chicago White Sox fan. Two, I’m not an Ozzie Guillen fan. Three, at the very first Major League Baseball game I ever attended, Guillen, responding to my mother’s entreaties for an autograph, told her, “Shut up you crazy bitch!” with an ever-rising, kinda-sorta awkward, English-as-a-second-language annunciation.
Now if I were Rick Morrissey—and trust me, as a guy who likes sports and words and words about sports, I certainly wouldn’t mind being a successful columnist—I’d tell that story and follow it with something like this: Most baseball players would love the opportunity to sign an autograph for a young lady—Ozzie Guillen was not ‘most baseball players.’ Look, I’m going to draw a line: to the left, I’ll put the 699 baseball players active in 1995 on Major League Baseball rosters who would have loved to sign an autograph for a young lady; to the right, I’ll put Ozzie Guillen. Not to belabor the point, but Ozzie Guillen is D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T. And explicit.
In Morrissey’s Ozzie’s School of Management: Lessons from the Dugout, the Clubhouse, and the Doghouse, most stories follow that formula: Ozzie does something crazy, Morrissey tells the reader just how crazy Ozzie’s being, then fit it into an overall motif about Ozzie’s purposefully crazy attitude.
As a White Sox fan, I’m familiar with Guillen—first the light-hitting, decent-fielding shortstop, then the maddeningly average manager. Given that Ozzie’s School of Management is mainly, and perhaps rightfully, focused on Guillen’s larger-than-life personality—sweeping his managerial shortcomings under, uh, first base?—many of my quibbles aren’t worth addressing on a book blog. Continue reading