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Solair Wright
08-04-2008, 05:51 PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ozzie Guillen earned himself an almost certain suspension Sunday afternoon. He told a dirty little secret.

“I’ve hit people before on purpose,” said Guillen, the Chicago White Sox manager, after a game Sunday in which umpires levied a suspect ejection in the fifth inning of a blowout when Chicago reliever D.J. Carrasco hit Kansas City’s Miguel Olivo with the bases loaded and incited a bench-emptying square dance.

“Yes I have,” Guillen continued. “Because that’s my job. Protect my players.”

Managers know better than to admit publicly one of baseball’s most unsavory truths, that a select number of hit-by-pitches registered each year come laced with intent. The purpose pitch – or the purpose hit, in these instances – is simply a part of baseball, and whether it’s to keep a batter from getting too comfortable or avenge some kind of perceived misdeed, it will never go away, no matter how much Major League Baseball tries to police its game.

Baseball sees this as the type of thing reserved for hockey, or Ron Artest, which is why it likely will drop the hammer on Guillen sometime this week. And yet as he continued his rant following the White Sox’s 14-3 loss that dropped them out of first place in the American League Central for the first time since May 16, a kernel of truth revealed itself. This wasn’t a typical Ozzie blowup, full of misguided fire and silly brimstone, a mouth shooting out Silly String. He made mountains of sense, and his point is something that baseball ought to consider instead of condemn.

“Sometimes people have to have a little bit of common sense,” Guillen said. “I’m talking about the umpires, I’m not talking about Olivo.”
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Well, Olivo needs it, too. He charged the mound after getting hit in the hand with the bases loaded in a blowout game by a pitcher whose fastball doesn’t touch 90 mph on a fast gun.

All of which relates back to Sunday’s home-plate umpire Tim Timmons and crew chief Gary Cederstrom. Dusting a batter is not black and white. However basic and brute the act, it takes a fair amount of consideration.

Who do you hit? Where do you hit him? Why do you hit him? When do you hit him?

“You think I’m going to bring somebody in to hit somebody and they’re going to throw a fastball 82 (mph) at the hands?” Guillen said. “I’m going to bring in my best guy and make sure he gets it done. That’s Major League Baseball. That’s baseball. That’s the baseball I grew up with. Not the (expletive) they play right now.”

By his best guy, Guillen said he meant Octavio Dotel or Matt Thornton, both of whom throw 95 mph. Carrasco is a sinkerball pitcher, and with one out and a slow-running free swinger at the plate, he threw three consecutive pitches inside trying to induce a double-play ball. Even Ozzie isn’t twisted enough to call for a retaliation pitch with the bases loaded just so he can cloak it with a good excuse.

Context counts.

An umpires’ biggest weakness – and this goes from the best (Tim McClelland) to the worst (C.B. Bucknor) – is delineating between pitching inside and throwing at a hitter.

Don’t cast this as an indictment on the whole lot. By and large, umpires are very good at their jobs. They get the vast majority of calls correct, employ consistent strike zones and remain strong in big moments. While failure is minimal, the scrutiny that results is exponentially worse.

Still, the tack baseball takes toward hit batsmen often inflames situations rather than extinguish them. Cederstrom explained that Carrasco’s three pitches were “up and in.” The pitch that hit Olivo nicked him on the wrist, which might be in but wasn’t up enough to arouse any suspicion.

“If he would’ve hit me with the first pitch, I would’ve been happy to take first base,” Olivo admitted. “But three times inside? It’s just so obvious.”

Actually, it wasn’t obvious at all, though emotions and memories and feelings tend to scuttle the truth in these situations. Guillen said Royals pitchers hit the White Sox six or seven times in a series in late July. It was five. And Olivo said Chicago had hit him three times this season. Carrasco’s was the second.

Guillen later said that on July 20, he instructed Carrasco to hit Royals designated hitter Billy Butler as retaliation for a Horacio Ramirez pitch that sidelined Jermaine Dye.

Carrasco missed. So much for Ozzie calling on his big guns.

If there was a time Sunday for a hit-by-pitch, Guillen said, it came earlier in the fifth inning. With Kansas City ahead 6-0, Mark Teahen led off the inning by trying to reach via a bunt.

“When Teahen bunts up by six runs, I didn’t even hit him. I should’ve,” Guillen said. “To teach him a lesson how to play baseball. And I didn’t. That’s why I want Major League Baseball to look at this thing the right way. … Everybody knows in the dugout Teahen did the wrong thing.”

Guillen didn’t stop there, and by the end, he had spent eight minutes bloviating on right and wrong. Whether he’s the correct emissary for such a conversation is dubious. In 2006, Guillen sent rookie reliever Sean Tracey into a game specifically to plunk Hank Blalock. Tracey missed. Guillen went bonkers. Tracey cried. Guillen shipped him to the minors the next day.

He hasn’t been back.

Credibility problems aside, Guillen’s honesty – or, perhaps better, forthrightness – does buy him some capital. He is right: Richie Garcia, the umpire supervisor at Kauffman Stadium, should be embarrassed. Had Olivo not charged the mound, Carrasco probably would not have been ejected. The umpires reacted poorly in concert with Olivo’s doing so.

The fact is, fights in baseball happen. Umpires may cut down on them by thumbing pitchers who throw inside, but the game, too, suffers. Players tend to police themselves. Unless they start throwing at each other’s heads – and with so much money at stake, that simply doesn’t happen anymore – umpires should be instructed to back off.

Fat chance. Status quo reigns. Guillen will get suspended. Same with Olivo, Carrasco and Royals starter Zack Greinke, who plunked Nick Swisher in the hip with a retaliation pitch (which, naturally, he denied). We’ll see more subterfuge and refutations and nastiness, because, as Guillen said, “I signed a five-year deal with this organization, and we play Kansas City a lot.”

And the dirty little secret is out.

Okay, you order pitchers to hit batters on purpose. That is very classy Guillen, very classy... :rolleyes:

Williamsburg2599
08-04-2008, 06:19 PM
Okay, you order pitchers to hit batters on purpose. That is very classy Guillen, very classy... :rolleyes:

A lot of managers do it. Guillen just had the guts (or lack of brain cells) to say it. Do you believe every pitcher after they start a brawl and during post game they say "It slipped"? If anything he's guilty of over-managing and not letting the players figure out who there going to hit.

OBA
08-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Okay, you order pitchers to hit batters on purpose. That is very classy Guillen, very classy... :rolleyes:
Awesome move by Guillen!! If only this were implemented more often by the other managers. Hopefully they catch up.

And you're one to bitch. LaRussa's probably at the top of this list for current managers.

Inge15
08-04-2008, 06:47 PM
Hitting an opposing teams batter(s) is part of the game. I bet that at some point ever manager has done it, but the key is to not have it go up and in.

Solair Wright
08-04-2008, 07:25 PM
Awesome move by Guillen!! If only this were implemented more often by the other managers. Hopefully they catch up.

And you're one to *****. LaRussa's probably at the top of this list for current managers.

I'm not a fan of LaRussa to be honest (neither is my family; he's rude and fickle in interviews). The day he retires is when my family and I can get a sigh of relief. I understand hitting pitchers are part of baseball, but Guillen is looking at a sure-fire suspension for doing what he did yesterday. His post-game comments didn't help things at all for Ozzie.

Don't mean to bait, guys. Guillen has gotten himself in hot water before. Nothing major, but he really needs to chill out before he gets himself before.

Knick9
08-04-2008, 11:21 PM
SW, you have to understand that Ozzie isn't the only manager that does this. Many managers order for intentional bean balls at opposing players, so this isn't really anything new. Yeah, with Ozzie, you do wonder about him, but something like this isn't bizarre in baseball. :shhh:

KCGHOST
08-05-2008, 08:12 AM
You know in watching the game live I would have bet money that Carrasco was throwing at Olivo. No, I don't read minds but that is what I thought watching the game. And to me the lamest of alibis is "why would we do it in that situation??" That is just a cover story. When humans get their blood lust logic goes out the window. Sure the bases were loaded, but the score was 10-0, too. What is another run in that scenario??

However, charging the mound was totally uncalled for. The pitches were up-and-in, but they weren't at the head and shouldn't have been that hard to avoid. When the suspensions come down Olivo should bear the brunt of the burden. If he just trots down to 1B there is no incident.

gman5431
08-05-2008, 08:15 AM
He may get a suspension, but this is why i love Ozzie Guillen. I find his personality, while overbearing at time, overall refreshing because he is one of the few men in the game who tells it like it is and doesnt pull punches. While he shouldnt have come out publicly with this rant, that is who he is.

The fact is that EVERY manager has ordered a HBP, some dont have to because the player are handling it amongst themselves but they know what is going on. Its part of the game. The park of the article that i agree with is letting player police themselves and keeping the umps out of it. Only times umps should intervene is when headhunting is detected or when benches clear. Otherwise baseball should be played in the days of Gibson and Drysdale. Pitchers need and should have the edge. These days if there is a warning them the pitchers are hamstrung with not being able to throw inside or risking ejection if they miss by an inch or two.

G Man

alltime#1pilotsfan
08-05-2008, 09:55 AM
A manager ordering his pitcher to plunk a batter? I am shocked, SHOCKED!

;)

Afterglow
08-05-2008, 10:16 AM
Every manager has done it. Doing that is probably as old as the game is.

I love Ozzie. He says what is on his mind. And he has no filter when it comes to expressing his emotions. The guy loves this game. And it shows in his attitude towards managing.

raiderjohn
08-05-2008, 11:29 AM
Wasn't Ozzie the guy who removed a pitcher because he could not hit a batter years ago? He even ripped him in the dugout for not doing it, he was outrighted the next day.

...this is old news, different players.

OBA
08-05-2008, 11:37 AM
Wasn't Ozzie the guy who removed a pitcher because he could not hit a batter years ago? He even ripped him in the dugout for not doing it, he was outrighted the next day.

...this is old news, different players.
He even it took it a step further if I recall correctly. He demoted that pitcher who did not hit a batter when he was instructed. Head hunting is a lost art in this era. Used to take place lots more back in the day for even such small infractions, like crowding the plate too much for certain inside pitchers, etc. I like it, makes games more interesting, and gives it some more excitement.

raiderjohn
08-05-2008, 11:45 AM
He even it took it a step further if I recall correctly. He demoted that pitcher who did not hit a batter when he was instructed. Head hunting is a lost art in this era. Used to take place lots more back in the day for even such small infractions, like crowding the plate too much for certain inside pitchers, etc. I like it, makes games more interesting, and gives it some more excitement.

Then you got guys like ARod, Bonds, and countless others wearing these elbow armor on their open arm facing the pitcher.

OBA
08-05-2008, 11:55 AM
Then you got guys like ARod, Bonds, and countless others wearing these elbow armor on their open arm facing the pitcher.
That's why in this day an age of baseball, I respect the players like Vlad Guerrero and Doug Mientkiewicz who go up to bat without batting gloves and body armor still, just to name two.

Koala
08-05-2008, 12:20 PM
Ozzie has always been outspoken and some may find it obnoxious while others, like myself, enjoy someone actually saying what everyone already knows. There is no hemming or hawing with him, just pure, unbridled opinion.

Also, hats off to the White Sox upper brass for refusing to deal with Scott Boras. I didn't find out about that until last week when Boston sports radio couldn't shut up about Manny.

Mild Sauce
08-05-2008, 06:25 PM
It's a classless move, no doubt about it, and it turns the game from being just a game into something much more personal than it needs to be, but as long as it isn't at someone's head then I won't hate anyone for it. It's also a large part of the game, every manager does it.

Ozzie's just too stupid to keep his mouth shut on it. However, 2 games is a fine suspension for him considering he bumped the umpire, he should feel a little bit lucky.

Death to Crawling Things
08-06-2008, 02:55 AM
A lot of managers do it. Guillen just had the guts (or lack of brain cells) to say it. Do you believe every pitcher after they start a brawl and during post game they say "It slipped"? If anything he's guilty of over-managing and not letting the players figure out who there going to hit.


With Guillen I am going with lack of brain cells. :)

Afterglow
08-07-2008, 05:42 PM
White Sox are 2-0 without Guillen managing*

So?

It's a 162 game season!

chips
08-08-2008, 10:28 AM
http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=77125

you can find my thought there