Pale Hose manager Ozzie Guillen has outdone himself: the outspoken South Side monument, known for his legendary rants, authored yet another one on Monday night — disputing a call from umpire James Hoye that shortstop Alexei Ramirez was out on a grounder. Guillen argued that the ball had dropped foul. This most recent “rant” is well worth watching, as it has Guillen kicking Cubs’ backstop Geovany Soto’s mask into an elegant trajectory, a visual that sparked Chicago wags to speculate that Guillen could be the Bears new punter.
Guillen’s latest antics mask (er . . . veil) his larger frustrations. The White Sox are 35-39 and 5.5 back in the A.L. Central race, and while that’s a damned sight better than they were a month ago, Guillen’s team is among MLB’s embarrassing underachievers. Free agent acquisition Adam Dunn is hitting .178, the pricey Alex Rios is at .210, “next big thing” second sacker Gordon Beckham is at .230, and the pitching staff (non-anchored by the now regularly injured Jake Peavy) is a shambles. Usually Guillen, one of the game’s great on-field captains, knows how to press the right buttons. But this year he seems to have lost his touch.
White Sox rooters have taken notice: South Side Sox is leading the charge against the front office, walking point on fan scapegoat Juan Pierre, whose play in left and on the base paths has been less than stellar. “If the rest of the lineup was doing what they were supposed to do, maybe we could live with Pierre,” the blog opines. “They aren’t though, so something needs to happen. That something is Pierre to the bench, or given his release. Pick one.”
Pale Hose fans have also begun wondering why Sox G.M. Kenny Williams hasn’t called Dayan Viciedo to the bigs. Outfield-First Baseman Viciedo is hitting the cover off the ball at Triple-A Charlotte and could replace Pierre in the outfield — a move that would quell the South Side mob. Williams doesn’t want to do it, because Pierre is a Guillen favorite and because it would signal that the South Siders are raising the white flag.
All of this comes as the White Sox face off against their cross town rivals — the North Side Drama Queens. The Cubbies came into the south side last night and took out the White Sox, 6-3, as humiliating a loss as any suffered by the Pale Hose this season. It was this, more than Hoyes call, that got to Guillen. He has had choice words about the Cubs in the past (“Wrigley Field is just a bar”), and has similar feelings about his team’s other rivals. After losing to the Red Sox in August of 2008, he went after Boston shortstop Dustin Pedroia. “I never thought I would walk a jockey,” he said.
Even so, last night’s rant was among Gullen’s best, undoubtedly because the Cubs are among the worst teams in the game (30-42 and falling fast) — so bad, in fact, that even the possible addition of Albert Pujols in the coming off-season wouldn’t help. They’d actually get worse, not better. That’s of little account to Guillen, who was willing to rethink his blow-up after the loss, but only because it would cost him a few bucks. “He was right, I was wrong,” Guillen said of Hoye’s call. “Because if I say what I want to say, I lose another 20 grand. So I’m just going to leave it that way. He was right, I was wrong and I got kicked out of the game. I’m tired of paying people money for no reason.”