- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made what appeared to be a preemptive strike Monday in advance of a potential new Ozzie Guillen rant toward members of the organization.
Four days before the start of the White Sox's annual fan convention, Reinsdorf praised Guillen's time with the White Sox as both a player and manager, and cleared the air as to why Guillen departed with two games remaining last season. Guillen is now the manager of the Miami Marlins.
"Regarding Ozzie Guillen's departure as White Sox manager last September, I want to make it clear that he left with our organization's blessing and at my urging," Reinsdorf said in a statement released Monday evening. "Ozzie told me he wanted to finish out the year, the Marlins really wanted him in Miami for the conclusion of the season, and I told him he had no choice but to go, given the excitement surrounding the opening of their new stadium and the unveiling of their new uniforms. Ozzie needed to be in Miami at the end of the season for the Marlins.
"We will always be grateful for the 21 seasons Ozzie spent in a White Sox uniform as a player and coach, especially his role in helping us win the 2005 World Series championship. We wish him nothing but the best."
No official reason was given for the timing of the statement other than to say it was "regarding the departure of Ozzie Guillen as manager on September 26, 2011." The season officially ended Sept. 28.
Upset over the perception that he quit on the White Sox with two games to go last season, Guillen fired off a series of Twitter posts Friday afternoon, threatening to speak his mind regarding the end of his run as manager.
Guillen first tweeted that when he arrived back in Chicago this week from a vacation he wanted to clear the air on his last day with the White Sox. Guillen continues to make his permanent home in Chicago. He then mentioned he never quit on anything and would "kill peoples fellings no mercy."
Guillen's ire appeared to be stoked by a radio interview conducted Jan. 14 by Jake Peavy on Chicago sports talk station WSCR 670.
Peavy said that after the decision was made to cut his season short with two starts remaining, his relationship with Guillen soured. Guillen was not part of the decision to shut down Peavy, according to the pitcher.
"... At the end of the day, Ozzie didn't finish the season with us the last few games so I don't know who quit on who," Peavy said. "It is what it is and we're all looking forward to 2012."
Peavy then went on to praise Guillen as a manager, saying he should always be respected for guiding the 2005 World Series championship club.
Guillen's fiery rants over the years had a number of targets, including Magglio Ordonez, Buck Showalter and last season's classic that laid into the Chicago media, a diatribe that was first reported to be directed toward White Sox fans. He often ripped his club, not necessarily for poor play, but for uninspired play.
Guillen was replaced early in the offseason by Robin Ventura.
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says Ozzie Guillen had his blessing to leave early.