Thursday, September 22, 2005
Guillen says he might quit after two years as skipper
CHICAGO -- There's seldom a dull moment with Ozzie Guillen as manager. His latest is this: If he leads the Chicago White Sox to their first World Series title since 1917, he might quit after just two seasons on the job.
I want to leave with my head up and do something nobody else did before. ... It would give me a good chance to accomplish everything in my career. ”
— Ozzie Guillen
Guillen says it's not a ploy to take the pressure off his slumping team that has nearly squandered a 15-game lead in AL Central. And he's not considering walking away because of the booing he's getting or job stress -- although he admits to sometimes vomiting after losses.
"A pretty good chance. Because I want to leave with my head up and do something nobody else did before. ... It would give me a good chance to accomplish everything in my career," he said Thursday.
The White Sox's lead had shriveled to 2½ games as they opened up a four-game series against the Twins on Thursday night. Talk of the great collapse is everywhere, in the papers and on the airwaves. Fans are criticizing his strategy and booing his moves.
But Guillen insists he's not looking for a way out.
"A lot of people misunderstand what I'm saying, a lot of people think I'm [talking of] quitting because I got a lot of pressure and got a lot of stress. I got stress and pressure because I want to win," he said.
"I want to win with this organization more than anybody," he said.
But in an earlier interview this week, Guillen said the booing saddens him, especially since the White Sox have 91 wins and because his sons, who are at most games, have to hear it.
That he gets physically ill is surprising, since Guillen doesn't seem to be the ulcer type with an outgoing and outspoken personality, something he flashed for 13 years as a player with the White Sox.
"When we lose a game I sit in my office for another hour. I sit there and try to figure out what we did wrong and what we should do," he said.
"I played here, I got my roots here, I grew up here. ... When we win, I'm the happiest man. When we lose, I get sick," he said.
General manager Kenny Williams said he had not taken reports of Guillen's desire to leave seriously.
Guillen just signed a contract extension in May. The White Sox picked up the 2006 option on his contract, added two more years and included an option for the 2009 season.
"Whatever his explanations are as to what he said, he's got to clean up his own house. I'm concerned about what is happening on the field. All the other stuff I can't be concerned about," Williams said, adding he didn't expect it to have an impact on the team.
"He's going to quit if we win?" first baseman Paul Konerko said. "That's really what managers go for anyway. Once you win the World Series as a manager, you go out with a bang. But first things first. We got to get to the playoffs."
Catcher Chris Widger has seen a change in Guillen over the last month.
"He's not as loose and happy-go-lucky as he was but, hey, that's the way it is. When you're a manager, the team lives and dies on your decision and at the end of the day you have to answer for the way your team plays," Widger said. "As far as him quitting, I hope not, I'd like to come back here next year, but he has to do whatever's best for him, best for his family and best for his health."
Guillen said he's not kidding.
"I said it because I mean it. When I win the World Series here in Chicago, maybe this year, maybe in 10 years, maybe two years, maybe three years, there is nothing better when you quit and go through the big gate, to get out big," he said. "That's what I want to do. That's what I explain to people. I just want to do it here. I only have two years doing this and if I do it this year, it will be a short career."