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Welcome to the final installment of The Dusty & Ozzie Show 2006.
When we first set out to track this city's spectacular pair of off-kilter baseball managers, we posited that one was a bullshit artist and the other just spewed bullshit. That indeed turned out to be true. We also set out to determine which was the most unbearable. So how did it turn out?
Well, only one is returning next season, and it would be hard to argue it's the wrong one. While Ozzie's odd and outdated notions of masculinity and democracy, along with a penchant for feuding with everyone who crosses his path, are tiring, he can handle a ballclub, and in the end he took responsibility for the disappointing White Sox season.
Dusty, on the other hand, is the most self-pitying man to spend time in a Chicago baseball dugout. He never genuinely took responsibility for the mess he helped create with his odd and outdated notions about how to build and manage a winning baseball team.
Our only regret is that The Joe G. & Ozzie Show figures to be a bust. Piniella and Brenly have comic foil potential, but we're pretty sure that there will never be another Dusty. For that, we thank him - and hope never to hear from him again.
In review, The Dusty & Ozzie Show of 2006:
"I'm more Venezuelan than Chavez is because I represent Venezuela."
- Sports Illustrated, Feb. 20
[Beachwood Sports Desk Note: Chavez is Hugo Chavez, the democratically-elected president of Venezuela who first won office in a landslide in 1998 and was re-elected in another landslide in 2002. We have not found a poll to support the contention that, had he run, Ozzie would have defeated Chavez.]
Does Dusty Only Imagine Speaking to His Players?
"I've been talking to him all winter, " manager Dusty Baker said [of Todd Walker]. "He knows we've got some competition for that job. Like I said earlier, he's probably the front-runner for that position. It's just a matter of how healthy he is, because at the end of [last season] he had a few health issues. But we've got room for everybody."
Walker insisted he didn't speak to Baker this winter.
"He called, but we kept missing each other," he said.
- Chicago Tribune, Feb. 21
Most of It, Dusty?
Baker said he understands the media have a right to ask about Prior's status, but he's tired of speculation that Prior is injured.
"Most of it, at this point, is pure speculation," Baker said.
- Chicago Tribune, March 7
What Did Dusty Know, And When Did He Know It?
"I won't even look at [the book about Bonds]. There's no reason to."
- Chicago Sun-Times, March 8
"I read a story about [the Bonds book] and was lost," Baker told reporters at Cubs camp Tuesday. "I didn't even know there were that kind of steroids. I have never seen steroids. You've got to be a doctor to keep up with all that stuff. There were some words in there I didn't even understand.
"Everybody saw the physical change [in Bonds]. You didn't know if Barry was lifting weights because he lifts all the time. Not interested? What are you going to do? I'm not a detective. What are you going to do as manager? How can anybody assert that I wasn't interested?"
- Sun-Times, March 8
"Had I known, definitely I would have said something. But I didn't know. Everybody was speculating about a lot of people."
- Sun-Times, March 8
"You don't know until someone gets busted and it's proven they were doing it," Baker said.
(So it would've taken a criminal conviction to know what you must have seen in your own locker room?)
"People are surprised I didn't know, but there are people whose kids are on things that they don't know."
[These aren't your kids, they are your employees.]
"You don't follow a guy home. You don't know what a guy does when he's off work."
(This had everything to do with what Bonds was doing at work.)
"There are signs, but you approach guys . . . I've asked guys and I haven't had one guy tell me 'yes.'"
(And I didn't want to hear 'Yes," because then I could say I didn't know.)
"I never asked (Bonds). I asked other guys. They all said [they hadn't]. I've asked guys for a long period of time."
[But the one player under the most suspicion is the one player you never asked. You asked other, lesser players, though.]
"These are things we teach at my baseball school in Sacramento, trying to get these young kids to stay off drugs."
[Attempt to deflect this line of inquiry.]
"No, I never asked Barry. If you've ever been around Barry, Barry is his own man. Not sometimes--but all the time."
[t's not like I was the manager or anything.]
- Tribune, March 9
- bracketed comments mine
From Dusty's Vault
Rick Telander recalls some Classic Dusty:
"Baker, of course, had no inkling Bonds or anyone anywhere might have been using steroids back in the late 1990s. It makes me chuckle, recalling Baker's response a couple years back when I asked him about Sammy Sosa's exploding bat.
"'Dude, I don't know anything about corked bats!' he sputtered.
"Why should he, after only 40 years in baseball."
- Sun-Times, March 10
Dusty as Don Rumsfeld
"[T]here's a spot and time for all of them. It's not a platoon. It's a situation of who I think is better suited that day to help us win - whether we need offense, speed, defense . . . You can read into it. [Walker] at this point is probably my primary second baseman. Then I have a secondary [in Hairston], and then secondary sometimes becomes primary."
Said Baker, in naming the left-handed hitting Todd Walker the starting second baseman for just the first two games of the season, in which the Cubs coincidentally face two tough right-handers in Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, of the Cincinnati Reds.
- various reports, April 1
Dusty Should Know
"The start of last year wasn't easy because we had Sammy Sosa stuff and Steve Stone stuff, and that stuff was bad, and I'm here to tell you it was B.S. All of it."
- Sun-Times, April 2
Crazy Ozzie Once Again Shows He's Nuts
"But a part of me doesn't know if I will ever get respect. When Bobby says something, it's 'Mr. Bobby Cox.' When Ozzie says something, it's 'Oh, crazy Ozzie.' Tony says worse things than me, but it's 'Tony LaRussa.' I can say the same thing the same way that Tony or Bobby says something but because it comes out of their mouth, it's cool. Out of my mouth, 'This guy is nuts.'"
You Just Showed Why, Dusty
"I don't know why there's controversy," Baker says about the still open question of whether he'll get his contract renewed.
- Sun-Times, April 9
"And I hate it when people blame [steroid use] on players when some kids somewhere is doing steroids. It's not the players' fault. It's the goddamn parents' and coaches' fault."
[But don't blame the players who kids aspire to be.]
"And I hate former players talking shit about this. When I see Wally Joyner, Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco talk about it, they make me puke. They're full of shit. You know why? Whatever happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. I see these former players talking shit about this game, and it's not right. Whatever you do is your own business. You've going to leave the game and then come back and say stuff in the papers or write stuff? I don't have respect for those guys."
[Because the clubhouse is a special place for overgrown children to indulge themselves without the prying eyes of the public or even the law.]
"If I wrote a book, it would be a nice book that tells the truth in the right way."
[That is, without the truth.]
"That was my best friend. He'll say, 'What's up, you child molester?' and I'll say, 'What's up, you fag?' That's how I've said Hi to him since 1985. Where I come from we don't judge by black or white or religion."
[But apparently sexual preference is fair game.]
"Every time the media second-guesses you, it's after something happens, not before."
[Paging Yogi Berra.]
- Playboy, May
- bracketed comments mine
Dusty and the Devil
"I've been delivered a bunch of times . . . I've seen a lot of stuff, that's why I know what's bad and what's good. I witnessed an exorcism once. About fifteen years ago. I was frightened. That let me know that it's real, know what I mean? . . . There's just a number of things that have happened in my life that let me know that what I believe in is real."
- The God Factor, Cathleen Falsani, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Ozzie's Heart Condition
"Manager Ozzie Guillen was asked about the status of injured reliever Dustin Hermanson (back), who remains in Arizona for extended spring training.
"'I have a rule with my team,' Guillen said. 'If you are not on my 25-man roster, I care less what you do. When you put on a uniform, then you are my boy. I have too much to worry about with my club.'"
- Sun-Times, April 30
Ozzie Blows Smoke
A Venezuelan newspaper reported that White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia tested positive for marijuana at the World Baseball Classic in March.
"Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, also a close friend of Garcia's and a fellow Venezuelan, steered clear of the situation. 'First, it's not a White Sox issue," Guillen said. 'It's between Freddy and baseball . . . If the case involved the White Sox, I'd be a part of that. But the case is not part of the Whtie Sox, so I could care less what they do.'"
Because who cares if one your players is a pothead.
- Sun-Times, May 2
Ozzie Teaches Civics, Civility Lessons
Ozzie speaks again about Freddy Garcia allegedly testing positive for marijuana in March at the World Baseball Classic.
"It's only one paper," Guillen said. "It doesn't bother [Garcia], but it bothers me. One newspaper, one guy, says he might. But nobody's got anything. Nobody. All of a sudden, one guy says, 'We think somebody told me.'
"It's a good thing it happened to Freddy and not to Ozzie Guillen because that man's going to be in big trouble. I will fly to Venezuela and kick his ass. You cannot print in the paper something you really do not know. I wish it happened in the United States because he'd be in jail right now.
"In Venezuela, we don't care. We take care of shit by hitting people. Nobody knows what's going on, Freddy, myself."
- Sun-Times, May 4
Baker Call For "New 'Z'" is Same Old 'B'
"Everybody would like the old [Zambrano] back, wouldn't they? Quite frankly, I wish the animated, demonstrative and angry Z returns. Because the calm Z ain't working."
But what about Zambrano's gestures of disgust when his teammates don't make plays?
"That part is out of control," Baker said. "That part is not good."
And doesn't showing emotion directed at an opponent just pump the opponent up?
"That helps an opponent, oh yeah," Baker said.
But aside from that, bring back the old Z.
- various reports, May 6
"People who say he [signed with Philadelphia] because of the money, well, no shit! This is how we feed our families. It's just like a lawyer or doctor. You go where they pay you the most money." said Ozzie Guillen, after Cleveland fans booed former Indian Jim Thome. "You can't feed your family with a championship ring. You can't take your kid to a college, show them your ring and say, 'Can my kid go to this college?' They'll tell you, 'No! Let's see some money.'"
The 2006 minimum wage for major league baseball players is $327,000.
The 2005 average salary for major league baseball players was $2,476,589.
Each member of the Chicago White Sox received $324,532.72 for winning the World Series.
Officials will not reveal the value of the White Sox's championshp rings, but they are made of 14-karat yellow gold with a 14-karat white gold insert. Each ring also contains 95 diamonds.
- Sun-Times, Major League Baseball Players Association, Houston Chronicle, CBS2Chicago
In preparation for the first interleague series of 2006 between the two Chicago teams, the Sun-Times brought back some classic Dusty & Ozzie quotes. Here are our favorites.
"Personally, I like to play in heat. Most Latin and minority people do. You don't find too many brothers from New Hampshire or Maine, right? We were brought over here because we could work in the heat - isn't that history?
"Your skin color is more conducive to heat than it is to the lighter-skinned people. I don't see brothers running around burnt. That's a fact. I'm not making this up. I'm not seeing some brothers walking around with some white stuff on their ears and noses."
"[Magglio Ordonez] is a piece of shit. He's another Venezuelan [undetermined expletive]. Fuck him. He thinks he's got an enemy? No, he's got a big one. He knows I can fuck him over in a lot of different ways.
"He better shut the fuck up and just play for the Detroit Tigers. Why do I have to go over and even apologize to him? Who the fuck is Magglio Ordonez? What did he ever do for me? He didn't do shit for me."
Crosstown Classic: Ozzie Calls Dusty On His Enabling B.S.
"There were a lot of different opinions coming from the Sox clubhouse in the wake of the announced fines and suspensions from the [Barrett-Pierzynski] incident. The comment that seemed to baffle most in the organization, however, was Cubs manager Dusty Baker saying it was a cause-and-effect scenario with Barrett's action the effect.
"So the cause was me running him over cleanly at the plate?" Pierzynski was quoted as saying in the Sun-Times. "I really don't have a comment."
"Sox manager Ozzie Guillen understood Baker's intentions, but also found him to be hypocritical.
"I don't blame Dusty for saying that because he's trying to protect his players," Guillen was quoted as saying. "But there's a right way and a wrong way to protect your players. I think that's the wrong way to protect your players when (Baker) admitted that (A.J.) did the right thing. When you say something and then all of a sudden you say another thing, that's not fair."
- Sun-Times, May 27
The Cubs lost a bizarre extra-innings game to the Braves - who hit eight home runs for the day - when an infield fly bounced off Aramis Ramirez's head, allowing the eventual winning run to reach second base. "I have no excuses," Ramirez said. "I just missed the ball."
Dusty had excuses, though, extending to the wind gods.
"That was tough for Aramis," Baker said. "The ball was blowing around up there. That wind seems like it aided them more than it aided us."
- Tribune, May 29
"Deceiving Stat: At least that was Baker's take on catcher Michael Barrett's six passed balls, two more than he had last season.
"'Some of these balls in my mind should be wild pitches,' Baker said. 'Some of our guys aren't that easy to catch.'"
- Sun-Times, May 31
Bake the Snake
"Corey Patterson's return to respectability in Baltimore (.291, seven homers, 20 RBI, 18 stolen bases) hasn't gone unnoticed in the Cubs' clubhouse. But when Baker was asked about his play, he was caught by surprise.
"'Corey?' Baker asked.
"'Oh yeah,' he said. 'He called me a couple weeks ago to say hello and see what's going on. I'm happy for him because I was one of the guys that really believed in him a lot.'"
- Sun-Times, June 1
"Dusty Baker insisted Friday that Zambrano was not angry with him [for being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning], despite the perception Zambrano created," the Tribune and others reported.
"He was upset that we lost," Baker said. "I talked to him about it. I read some stuff that he was made that I took him out of the game. He said that wasn't the case at all."
Baker repeated that assertion to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the national Fox broadcast on Saturday. "I don't know where that came from," Baker said.
If Baker thinks the media makes this stuff up, he might want to establish a more honest relationship with his players. And if he's just trying to protect his players, he's lucky the press doesn't just out-and-out start calling him a liar in print.
Because it came from Zambrano.
"[A]n angry Zambrano said in his postgame interview that he was stopping himself from saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment," Mike Kiley wrote in the Sun-Times. "He clearly indicated by that biting-the-tongue statement that he was upset with somebody rather than just the usual frustration of losing."
The Tribune's Paul Sullivan essentially wrote the same thing, allowing only that Zambrano's post-game temper tantrum was "seemingly" aimed at Baker. Sullivan was being careful, but he clearly wouldn't have written his story the way he did if he wasn't trying to tell us that Zambrano was pissed at Baker.
- June 3, various news reports
"When Phil Nevin was acquired Wednesday, manager Dusty Baker called it a 'much-needed deal' for the Cubs.
"'We needed some right-handed sock, and he can play first base, third base, and I haven't seen him in the outfield, but we'll probably work him out there,' Baker said.
"Nevin hit a 410-foot home run Saturday but sat Sunday for the second time in three games. He isn't being considered for a corner outfield spot, and Aramis Ramirez is an everyday player at third, so Nevin will play first or sit.
"'We've only got so many spaces,' Baker said Sunday. 'You wish he played a number of positions.'"
-Tribune, June 5
Wood's Got Baker
"'[Wood] threw the ball pretty good,' Dusty Baker claimed.
"Not even Wood was buying his manager trying to cover for him. Told what Baker had said, Wood looked taken aback.
"'It usually is never really good when you go 3 2/3," Wood said sarcastically."
- Sun-Times, June 7
"If we have to go another direction for a short period of time, we are prepared to do that," Dusty Baker said, referring to the possibility that Kerry Wood would miss more starts. "We have a guy that has had some success so far in the big leagues."
Baker was referring to Carlos Marmol, who indeed has had success in the big leagues. He's never been scored upon. In all four innings in which he's appeared.
- Baker quote from Sun-Times, June 9
Ozzie the Headhunter
"After watching catcher A.J. Pierzynski get beaned by Rangers starter Vicente Padilla in boht the second and fourth innings, [Sean] Tracey was brought into the game in the seventh to face Hank Blalock.
"According to one Sox source, Tracey also entered the game with specific instructions. . . . Tracey did throw one inside pitch to Blalock, but then he simply pitched to the third baseman and got him out.
"That brought Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to the mound and sent Tracey to the dugout. The explanation offered by Guillen after the game was well thought-out but also a big smoke-screen. And while Guillen is never one to lie to the media, he also knows the unwritten rule of baseball that states a manager or player never can admit to throwing at an opposing player without serious repercussions from the league office.
"'I felt the thing with Tracey was he's not a mop-up,' Guillen said. 'H'es one of our prospects and shouldn't be in the game for mop-up time.'"
COMMENT: That's not lying to the media? Guillen ordered Tracy to throw at Blalock. When he acted honorably and didn't - Tracey could have ended Blalock's career for nothing Blalock was responsible for - Guillen pulled him. After all, mop-up time is the perfect time for a prospect.
"Guillen, however, was caught on camera screaming at someone in the dugout after removing Tracey. When the camera focused on Tracey, he was visibly upset and looked almost on the brink of tears. A Sox source said after the game that Tracey was informed he was being sent back down to Class AAA Charlotte.
"'Ozzie went nuts,' one source said. 'He had the ass, big-time.'"
COMMENT: I 've been a diehard baseball fan since childhood. But guess what? It's a game. Do you think maybe Ozzie and the rest of the spoiled, rich egomanics in the game take themselves a bit seriously? Despite the metaphors, Ozzie, you aren't a field general in a war. You are a baseball manager. Big frickin' whoop. You ordered that a rookie to possibly injure a veteran who had nothing to do with anything, and then traumatized the poor kid when he wouldn't.
I know all about unwritten rules and codes of honor. Usually they exist to protect criminals like brutal mobsters and brutalizing cops and sleazy pols.
The only one who acted with honor in this incident was Sean Tracey. And he got what honorable people get in this world: Stomped on.
UPDATE: Upon seeing video of this incident, it appears that indeed Tracey tried to hit Blalock with his first two pitches, though he obviously didn't do a very good job of it. On the other hand, it wasn't obvious enough for the ump to throw him out - and both benches had been warned. In any case, Ozzie is a bozo. Stand up like a man, Ozzie. Say it loud and clear: I ordered Tracey to hit Blalock. Explain to us the unwritten rules (unwritten for a reason). And take your punishment like a man.
- report from Sun-Times, June 15
Dusty In The Dumps
"I just want my team back some day soon. That's what I want as much as anything. I want my team back to see what I can do."
- various reports, June 19
Um, Dusty? This is your team. And we've seen what you can do with it.
ADDENDUM: "Guillen dislikes talking about injured players, and he respects that LaRussa has refused to use the loss of slugger Albert Pujols as an excuse."
- Tribune, June 20
Depends On The Meaning Of Underachieve
"Baker bristled, though, when the 'underachiever' label was put on his club.
"'No,' he said. 'They've played as good as they can play. Everybody wants to throw underachieve on something real quick. If they were underachieving, I'd tell them. I haven't told them that one yet.
"T'hey haven't performed as well as some of them can over a period of time. I can't say they underachieved.'"
- Sun-Times, June 20
The Homophobic Headhunter Hit Parade
"What a piece of shit he is. What a fucking fag."
- Ozzie Guillen, talking to reporters about Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, June 20
"'I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.'
"Guillen said that in Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is 'not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].'
"He also said that he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend the Gay Games in Chicago.
"'I called that of this man [Mariotti],' he said. 'I'm not trying to hurt anybody [else].'''
- Sun-Times, June 21
"I should be suspended because I called one guy that?" Guillen asked. "I should have used another word. [MLB] can do whatever they want, but I'm not going to back up. I will apologize to the people I offended because I should have used another word."
- Tribune, June 22
The Ozzie Show Veers Toward Cancellation
Sox GM Ken Williams warns Ozzie that he is in danger. "If it continues on, the likelihood (goes up) that . . . maybe one day I'll have to walk into the office and deliver some bad news and announce a new manager," Williams said. "The simple fact is, we have seen this movie before."
Meanwhile, Ozzie continued to make an ass of himself. Regarding the sensitivity course that baseball commissioner Bud Selig ordered him to attend, Ozzie said: "I don't think I'll be going - 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'll do what I have to do, at least when I have time, but I don't think I'll take those sensitivity lessons.
"What class? What is it? Mr. Selig said I have to do something about this. I don't even know what he is saying . . . if they want me to do it, make sure it's after 12 o'clock. I don't get up until after 12 o'clock."
Williams and Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf straightened Ozzie out about that. He'll take the course.
Meanwhile, Ozzie continues to live under delusions of grandeur and ignorace.
"Jay, I think I made this guy a lot of money and he's famous. If not for Ozzie Guillen, no one would have heard of him," he said.
Um, Mariotti has been a Chicago columnist for 15 years. He's been drawing a lucrative salary for far longer than Ozzie, and in fact he may make a comparable amount of money.
- various reports through June 25
Angel In The Outfield
Who knew Angel Pagan was the missing piece for the Cubs this season?
"Asked before Saturday's game about finally getting his whole team back when Lee arrives, Baker pointed out Kerry Wood and Angel Pagan weren't back.
"'That's a big one,' Baker said of Wood. 'And plus, we miss Pagan too.'"
Pagan is rookie who made the team as a bench player. He was batting .263 in 19 at-bats and one RBI when he went on the disabled list early this years with a strained hamstring.
- Tribune, June 25
Dusty decides the Cubs are a team full of young prospects.
"[C]an the city and the organization and everybody wait for some of these kids to take their lumps? Look at Detroit. Those guys were taking their lumps big-time, and look where they are now. That's the question."
Um, what kids are you talking about Dusty? Juan Pierre? Aramis Ramirez? Your three veteran second-basemen? Glendon Rusch? The Michael Barrett with the 10-cent head? The Jacques Jones who quite possibly is the worst right-field arm in the game?
If only, Dusty. If only.
- quote from Tribune, June 25
Dusty's Horse Shit
"Give me the horses - and my horses stay healthy - and I'll win," Baker told reporters.
"In other words, for the $4 million the Cubs are paying Baker this season," writes the Sun-Times's Chris DeLuca, "he can succeed under the perfect set of circumstances. Who couldn't?"
And let's not gloss over the fact that Dusty Baker is making $4 million this year. Four million. Dollars. This year alone.
- June 27, Sun-Times et al
" . . . like the guy from [ESPNdeportes.com] who said I didn't want to go [to sensitivity training]. I never told him that."
Jesus, Ozzie, you told everyone else, why pick on him? Tell us again about how you aren't a liar because an awful long list of people seem to keep misunderstanding you.
"I do the best I can every day," Baker says. "Am I satisfied with the results? No. Am I satisfied with what I try to do as far as preparing my team to be ready to play? Yes."
Same day, Derrek Lee.
"'I don't understand it,' Lee said Monday of the team's lack of focus against the Twins. 'It's surprising. To me, it's just a matter of coming to the yard ready to play every day. I don't think we showed up yesterday and that's not really excusable."
- June 27, Sun-Times
Dusty Baker is in classic form at the Crosstown Classic. To wit:
* "Cubs manager Dusty Baker seemed flabbergasted before the game that the Barrett-Pierzynski melee was still a story, along with speculation about what might happen in Round 2.
"'It's baseball,' Baker said. 'You guys act like this is the first fight ever in baseball. Shoot, when we were playing, we fought all the time. Just nobody got suspended. We had fights, and nobody even got kicked out. We fought Houston when I was on the Dodgers. We fought every week. It's just [now], something happens.'"
Um, right. On what planet, Dusty?
* "The Cubs activated outfielder Angel Pagan from the disabled list Friday . . . Baker said Pagan can spell Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones and can pinch-run and pinch-hit.
"'He's a valuable piece we've been missing, but very few people have talked about it,' Baker said."
The Cubs have also been toiling with their mail room intern, who is out with a hangnail. Baker said he won't have all his horses until the intern returns - and stays healthy. Only then can we judge his managerial skills.
* "Replays were inconclusive [on Juan Pierre's attempt to score on a Todd Walker grounder] on umpire MIke Reilly's call," the Tribune's Phil Rogers writes. "Apparently some people think Baker should have gone all Joe Mikulik on Reilly, as he was asked afterward why he didn't come out to argue.
"'I couldn't even see the play,' he said. 'From our dugout, [I] can't see home plate. I can't see first base. I can't see second.'
"Maybe that's how Baker can stand to keep coming to work. He sits where he can't see a lot of the game."
* "'The last two days [both losses] are good signs where we didn't roll over,' Juan Pierre said. 'Early in the season, we'd roll over and take the beating.
" There is bad news for Baker hidden in that message," the Sun-Times's MIke Kiley writes. "Where was he when the team was rolling over and taking a beating early on? A manager ultimately has to be responsible for how his team plays, and comments like that can be viewed as a sign that Baker hasn't been able to reach this group and get them to focus on what must be done."
* "Tony Womack was designated for assignment Friday," Kiley reports. "You have to ask yourself why manager Dusty Baker played Womack for a while at second rather than insert Phil Nevin at first and shuffle Todd Walker to second in Derrek Lee's absence. That seemed shortsighted of Baker at the time and more so now.
"Nevin still is here as a starting left fielder, and the Cubs could have had his power bat in the lineup even sooner after the trade with Texas on May 31 if Baker had identified the need to focus on him rather than Womack.
"Baker's inability to seize the opportunity to get Nevin some at-bats from the start will stand as one of his misjudgement this season at having a feel for putting the best team on the field."
Only compounded by Baker's statement the day before: "When have I had Michael [Barrett] and D-Lee in the lineup at the same time and Nevin and the rest of the guys?"
Now he's including Nevin in the expanding group of "missing" players that used to include just Lee, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior? And Barrett, who went missing only because he slugged a guy because he didn't know the rules ("I didn't have the ball, bitch!")? Oh, and don't forget Angel Pagan. He's an important missing piece too.
- June 30 and July 1 reports, Sun-Times and Tribune
"'We've just got to get over that first hump, the final out, and then we'll start rolling.' You've got to be kidding, Dusty. Start rolling? The Cubs are 29-51. It's over."
- Greg Couch, July 2
"We ain't going to tank it," Baker says. "We don't know how to tank it."
Juan Pierre had just said: "Early in the season, we'd roll over and take the beating."
- July 2, various reports
The sensitivity instructor suggested that Guillen be more polite.
"I don't need to be polite,' Guillen said. 'I need to speak better English.''
- from a Carol Slezak column, July 4
"No,'' Guillen said to the instructor. "I've been here 26 years. I know what every little word means to anybody. That's not an excuse."
- from the same column
The Ignorant Oz
In response to Kansas City Star writer Joe Posnanski ripping Guillen for picking mediocre pitcher Mark Redmond for the All-Star game instead of Mark Grudzielanek, Guillen said: "Tell the columnist from Kansas City when he knows anything about baseball, start writing about baseball."
Posnanski has twice been named the nation's best sports columnist by the Associated Press Sports Editors, as the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein pointed out. "But these days Guillen seems determined to stifle dissenssion," Greenstein wrote. "Disagree with him on something and it's clear you know nothing about baseball."
- Sun-Times and Tribune, July 5 and 6
"Piniella is fiery - the opposite of Baker's California laid-back appraoch. Piniella is no-nonsense. Baker is mostly nonsense."
- Chris DeLuca, July 6
"In the last two years, we've had the team we wanted maybe one-third or one-quarter of the time. We haven't had the pleasure of having the team we put together."
- Sun-Times, July 7
Baker Briefly Gets It
"Baker was asked if he would like to tell Chicago fans to just hang with him and it will get better. 'They've been hearing that too long in Chicago. They've been hanging in for 100 years now. Nobody wants to hear it at this point.'"
Too bad now is the time to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch. And Baker isn't the right guy to do that. Watch him start Neifi Perez and Phil Nevin instead of giving Ryan Theriot and Matt Murton.
- Sun-Times, July 7
Ever since spring training, Ozzie Guillen vowed to pack his All-Star roster with White Sox. And yet, he played the victim when complaints rolled in about his All-Star picks. "It's a funny thing about this," poor Ozzie said. "Every [All-Star] manager goes through this, and every time they pick it's fine. But Ozzie picks somebody, what's he doing?"
Ozzie also conveniently forgets that other All-Star managers, particularly Joe Torre, have been equally ripped for stocking the team with their own players.
- various reports, July 8
Dusty the Developer
Responding to suggestions that the Cubs play their prospects the rest of the way in order to build for the future, Baker said: "If that happens and we lose even more, are you going to hold that against my record, too? While you are developing?''
Because it's always about Dusty.
- various reports, July 9
Z Is For Ztupid
Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, throwing a no-hitter through five innings, steals a base on his own on a very hot day. After pulling up with an awkward slide, Baker is spotted in the dugout kissing his cross. Yet after the game, Baker plays the Enabler. "This guy is a ballplayer, not just a pitcher," Baker said. "he's a runner, a hitter, a fielder. He's seen Maddux do it - not a bad guy to emulate. When I saw him get up, I was just hoping he wasn't hurt. Guys playing like that, you have no remorse about anything."
- July 16, various reports
"If Padilla hits somebody, believe me, we're going to do something about it," Ozzie rants. "You can count on that. I don't care if we're suspended for 100 years."
- various reports, July 20
"I don't think there's nothing wrong with that."
- Ozzie Guillen, about Barrett slugging A.J. Pierzynski, July 20
"Now this is a bunch of little weasels' game."
- Ozzie, lamenting the lack of violence in baseball, July 21
Macho Macho Man
Ozzie screams at Jon Garland in the dugout after Garland throws behind a batter twice but fails to hit him.
"I'm a man of my word," Guillen explained after the game. "I said if something happens, we would retaliate. I have to protect my players. Unfortunately, Garland missed him a couple of times."
Greg Couch points out that "legendary Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver used to tell his pitchers not to retaliate. He planned on being in a pennant race every year and didn't want to lose a cleanup hitter to a broken wrist that settled some dumb scores."
COMMENT: Why does Ozzie Guillen feel his manhood is constantly under threat?
- Sun-Times, July 24
"[Chris] Widger said he was told that the team didn't like his game preparation this season, but manager Ozzie Guillen said that wasn't the message delivered to Widger when they gave him the news.
"'You can twist things a lot of different ways,' Guillen said. 'I remember clear what [general manager Ken Williams] said. He said, 'If you want to play the game for a couple more years, you have to prepare better.'
"'He thinks what was said was, 'You don't prepare yourself real well to play.'"
So you can see how Widger twisted things.
- Sun-Times, July 25
"People treat these guys like garbage," Guillen said of his 25 players.
- Sun-Times, July 26
Detroit Tigers first-base coach Andy Van Slyke responds on Sporting News Radio to Ozzie Guillen's dugout tirade against Jon Garland for failing to plunk a Texas Ranger. "I probably would have punched him."
Guillen's response: "First base coach. Just make sure you pick the right helment at the right time."
Wonder how Harold Baines feels about that crack.
- Sun-Times, July 26
The List Grows
"[Mariano] Duncan, the Dodgers' first-base coach, criticized Guillen three weeks ago for a series of inflammatory comments, saying 'He's embarrassed every Latino player, coach and front-office person.'
"On Tuesday, Guillen said Duncan had called to apologize to him. But Duncan said Wednesday that no such call had taken place.
"'He's a liar,' Duncan said."
- July 27, Los Angeles Times
"Dusty Baker made a stunning revelation before Friday's loss to Pittsburgh: The Cubs are still in the National league wild-card playoff race," the Tribune's Paul Sullivan reports.
"I look at it like we're still in it right now. I just haven't commented on it. But we still have action now," Baker said.
- Tribune, August 5
No Dusty in Team
"Cubs manager Dusty Baker said [Ronnie] Cedeno is capable of learning [second base] at the major-league level as opposed to being sent to the minors.
"'It wouldn't be fair to Ronny because he'd lose service time and money,' Baker said."
COMMENT: It's not as if the well-being of the team might take precedence over Ronny's service time and money - money which, by the way, comes from the fans paying for an inferior product.
- Tribune, August 6
Maybe Dusty Baker is getting scared that Jim Hendry may actually offer to extend his contract. "I've got a choice, too, you know," Baker told reporters, indicating after months of telling us how badly he wants to stay in Chicago to finish the job that maybe he'll just head where he'll be more appreciated. "All I know is it seems a lot of people have gotten smarter and more knowledgeable than me in a short period of time - to others," Baker said, in a clear allusion to Joe Girardi.
Perhaps a lot of others have just won more games in a short period of time.
But Baker wasn't through.
"What happens if we get extremely hot?" he said, repeating an earlier claim that the Cubs are still in the wild-card race. "What do you want me to do? Say, 'It's over?' I don't believe that. I can only say what I believe . . . I know my chances are slim, but I don't know what's going to happen. Does anybody know?"
Which is why Hendry ought to dump Baker now. If he's playing for the wild-card instead of preparing this team for next year, he's doing a disservice to the organization, the players, and most importantly, the fans.
- various reports, August 10
Ozzie Idiocy Pt. 746
"Of more concern for the Twins, however, is the loss of lefty Francisco Liriano, whose elbow injury didn't seem to surprise Guillen. 'The kid's not a pitcher,' he said. 'He's a thrower.'"
COMMENT: The remarkable thing about Liriano, for anyone who has seen him this season, is that, particularly for a 22-year-old, what Guillen says is exactly not true. Perhaps that's why he was an All-Star and Cy Young candidate with a 12-3 record and a 2.19 ERA before going on the DL.
- Tribune, August 13
Delusional Dusty Pt. 593
"I'm not getting fired. If my contract expires, it just expires."
- Sun-Times, August 13
Poor Ozzie, the Bigotry Victim Who Doesn't Know His Own Ethnicity
"'We're cheating on the mound? Our pitching staff gets beat up once in awhile. [The other managers are] mad. they can't admit that a Latino kicked their ass . . .
"T'hat's why I don't get along with too many managers. Because they hate my fucking ass, because I don't kiss their ass, and I didn't kiss anyone's ass to get this job. They they have a Mexican win the World Series in two years. And they're saying he doesn't have experience, he never managed in baseball before. Well, too fucking bad.'
"When reminded that he is Venezuelan and not Mexican, Guillen paused.
"'What's the difference?' he said, laughing. 'No one know the difference anyway.'"
- Sun-Times, August 20
"To eject the manager in the second inning of the game, you have to look yourself in the mirror and be a fucking professional," Guillen said.
Or maybe a manager in a playoff race ought to be the one to look himself in the mirror after getting himself ejected in the second inning - for arguing balls and strikes.
- various reports, August 23
Poor Poor Pitiful Ozzie I
Ozzie Guillen can't understand why everybody is down on the White Sox. "We have almost the same record as the Mets, and the Mets are the most unbelievable team, 'Boom-bah, wow, what a job they're doing.' We've got the same record they do, and we're a piece of shit."
"We haven't played well," said Jim Thome, the same day.
COMMENT: Further, aside from constantly playing the whining victim, Ozzie doesn't seem to grasp the difference between underachieving and overachieving.
- August 24, Sun-Times
Poor Poor Pitiful Ozzie II
"One of the best managers in baseball got thrown out 100 times: Bobby Cox. But Bobby Cox gets kicked out of the game, he's doing a good job. Ozzie gets kicked out of the game, and he's leaving the team by itself. That's what I have to deal with. I don't think I have a lot of umpires' respect."
COMMENT: I don't think you have a lot of anyone's respect, Ozzie. You have to command it, nto demand it. Constantly whining and threatening to quit, which you also did again, isn't the way to do that. Besides, everyone knows everyone is out to get you because you are a Latino.
- August 24, Sun-Times
"Guillen called it a 'shame' that Cubs manager Dusty Baker had received racial hate mail, admitting that he has gotten similar e-mails at times."
"'I grew up in a different country and a different way,' Guillen said."
COMMENT: Because Venezuela is so well-known for being a country completely devoid of racism.
- Sun-Times, August 26
Ozzie in Wonderland I
"Ozzie Guillen said Pierzynski was within his rights to celebrate (by flipping his bat) his latest homer.
"'You get hit, you know you got hit on purpose and you hit a home run. You should pimp it,' Guillen said. 'That's part of the game. If it was me, I might have run around the bases carrying my bat.'"
COMMENT: I guess that's what Ozzie has meant all this time talking about "playing the game right."
- Tribune, August 28
Delusional Dusty Deluxe
"You can figure (a healthy Derrek Lee would) make up 10, 12, 15 games by himself."
And don't forget what a healthy Angel Pagan would have brought to this team as a fourth outfielder, Dusty says.
COMMENT: Go tell it to the Twins. Or the Yankees. Or any team that is poised to make the playoffs and has suffered through worse injuries than the Cubs. This is nauseating.
- Tribune, August 29
Delusional Dusty Deluxe II
"The Pirates entered their game Monday night against the Cubs one loss shy of ensuring their club-record 14th consecutive losing season. They would be only the sixth team in baseball history with such an extended stretch of sub-.500 play.
"But people don't look at things being [worse] elsewhere," Baker says. "Our fans] just look at what's bad for us."
COMMENT: Well, the Pirates did win the World Series in 1960, 1971, and 1979. It's hard to argue the Pirates franchise - or any franchise - is worse than the Cubs.
- Tribune, August 29
Delusional Dusty Deluxe III
"I love the thrill of winning, which is a big part of my life and a big part of America. Americans love winners."
COMMENT: But America loves the Cubs. And the Cubs are decidedly not winners.
COMMENT: As opposed to other countries, which tend to love losers.
- Sun-Times, August 29
Ozzie in Wonderland II
"According to Guillen, [Tampa Bay Devil Ray Delmon] Young stared into the White Sox' dugout before his last at-bat Tuesday, as if he was trying to send a message to the Sox manager for getting plunked in his first at-bat of the game.
"I don't play that game," Guillen said. "He looked into the dugout, and he looked at me . . . and you don't know me. I'm a little upset about it."
COMMENT: Maybe he was just pimping it, Ozzie. But then you don't play that game. (See Ozzie in Wonderland I).
- Sun-Times, August 31
All About Dusty
"The final month is to try to get victories and instill winning and take it into next year."
COMMENT: Trying to get victories at the expense of at-bats and pitching starts and the development of young players to take into next year is managerial malpractice.
- Tribune, September 1
Baker Off Base
"Earlier this week Dusty Baker once again baffled baseball fans with the following statement: 'On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage. Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address is the home run problem.'
"This view of baseball, coupled with his statement earlier that 'walks clog the bases,' makes it clear to Cubs fans that Baker understands nothing about how runs are scored or ballgames won."
- Julie DiCaro, letter to the Tribune, September 2
Dusty's Enabling Fault Lines
"The Cubs were dead last in the National League with a .245 average from the leadoff spot in 2005 and ranked next to last with a .299 on-base percentage from the top spot.
"The addition of Juan Pierre has moved them up to fourth in the league with a .289 leadoff average, but they're still only 11th with a leadoff on-base percentage of .333. That's because Pierre has only 32 walks in 143 games.
"Manager Dusty Baker said it's not all Pierre's fault. 'He's tried,' Baker said. 'You see him take a lot of pitches, but the umpires know, the league knows that he takes a lot of pitches, especially the first pitch, which a lot of times is a strike. It's hard to walk when you're 0-1 all the time. Good thing he's a two-strike hitter.'"
COMMENT: So it's not Pierre's fault that he takes a lot of first-pitch strikes?
- Tribune, September 12
"[Aramis Ramirez is] finishing strong and it came right on time for us."
COMMENT: Right on time for what, to get out of town with the last laugh?
- Sun-Times, September 19
"Gullien said he would do what it takes to help third baseman Joe Crede win a Gold Glove, even if that means doing what he can to mess with the vote. Managers and coaches vote for the award but are not allowed to vote for their own players. Guillen, however, has a plan.
"'I'm going to vote for the worst guys on the field, make sure my guy is one point ahead,' Guillen said. 'I will do that. What's the guy that plays for Minnesota, the Latino guy? Batista? I will vote for him, just so Chavez don't get it.'"
- Sun-Times, September 21
"God told me to come here," Dusty Baker said. "And I just can't believe - my dying mother-in-law told me this, and I pray on it - that I was supposed to come here to leave under these circumstances."
COMMENT: The same God who told George W. Bush to go to war? That's a busy God. "War? Check. Dusty Baker's next assignment? Check." Does that mean God told Jim Hendry to hire Baker? Does that mean God favored Baker for this job over other candidates like Ken Macha, who is going to the playoffs with the A's? Or maybe God told Baker to come here to punish him and us.
- Tribune, September 29
Bye Bye Dusty
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